Monday, March 9, 2015

Looking Forward to March 15, 2015 -- Day Labourers and Payment

The Scripture Reading this week is Matthew 20:1-16

The Sermon Title is What do You Need?

Early Thoughts: Karl Marx did not like the church.  He said this about religion:
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. 

And yet there is something distinctly Marxist about this passage.

After all, at the end of the day everybody gets what is considered necessary for survival, even those who only work for an hour.  Doesn't that remind you of Marx's "From each according to his ability, to each according to his [sic] need".

Actually I think God's justice goes beyond Marx (and also beyond St. Paul as it happens).

One of the prevailing concerns of Scripture (some have suggested it is THE prevailing concern but I think that is a bit of an overstatement) is economic justice.  And it appears that in God's understanding of economic justice everyone gets what they need to live.  EVERYONE.  Not based on how hard you work, or who your parents happen to be, or how moral a life you live.  EVERYONE.

And this is where God goes beyond Marx and Paul.  In  2 Thessaloninans we find a principle that was later taken up by the Stalinist regime and fits well with the first half of the Marx quote above:
He who does not work neither shall he eat
But I suggest that God's view of justice is that life is life and so all should eat.  Not that Scripture encourages "freeloading" but that Scripture exhorts us to care for each other and nurture life.  Especially when many who do not have are in need because they cannot (either because of lack of opportunity or because of physical/mental/emotional health limitations) work.  God is not a Social Darwinist, God calls that all may have life (and that in abundance).

And so everyone gets what they need.

Is that fair?

No.  But then where are we promised that life is fair?

And so here is the question.  What do you need?  What do you need to live?  What does your neighbour need to live?  And how do we ensure we all get that?

And remember that in our world we have many day labourers....

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