Presbyterians Today

OCT-NOV 2017

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JUSTICE FOR GOD'S WORLD | Vernon Broyles III 48 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2017 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay Coming in December/January Epiphanies! Epiphany is part of our Christmas celebration, and God's revelations show up in our daily lives. Explore what these spiritual insights mean for us today. Loving our Muslim neighbors The Rev. Dr. Jeff Paschal never saw it coming. But today he's leading a ministry of friendships with Muslims at Guilford Park Presbyterian Church. "God is sneaky," he says, "but it's a lovely surprise." New Book of Common Worship The revised Book of Common Worship will be released in the spring of 2018. Find out what's new and get a sneak peek at liturgy for the Christmas season and beyond. Customer Service Order or renew a subscription 800-558-1669 Purchase extra copies or a past issue 800-533-4371 Change of address pcusa.org/changeaddress Reprint permission and subscription problems 800-728-7228, ext. 5627 Email us General: today@pcusa.org Editor: editor@pcusa.org Caring for the beaten and broken Working against poverty and discrimination That kind of peace will never come until all of us hear the message in the story of the Good Samaritan and act as the one who showed compassion. Our political system is broken, largely because it is administered by people of privilege whose wealth ensures their tenure. Our economic system is broken by greed that insists that we cannot afford to pay every worker a living wage because that would disrupt the profitability of businesses. We factor human labor as a commodity, like building materials, in the version of cap- italism favored by many among us. We have never, even when we have been at our "best," created social, political and economic systems founded on the biblical principle of first caring for those whom Jesus calls the least. Nowhere has that been more evident than in our broken health care system. As a nation, we simply have not been willing to make a commitment to care for all. To claim to be Christian and yet turn aside from health care for all of God's children because it is too expensive is an obscenity to our Lord. It is cynical to claim there are not enough resources even as our leaders work to reduce the contributions of the wealthiest among us to the healing of all our citizens, while expanding expendi- tures on weapons of death. Jesus called upon us to care for those who have been beaten and broken by the system, especially those who cannot care for themselves. How can we claim to be fol- lowers of Jesus when we fail to respond to that call? Vernon Broyles III is a volunteer for public witness in the PC(USA)'s Office of the General Assembly. Jesus [said], "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while travel- ing came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, 'Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.' Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus said, "Go and do likewise." — Luke 10:30–37 "God bless America!" "One nation under God!" "With liberty and justice for all!" "A Christian nation!" "Make America great again!" and on and on the slogans go. And on and on go the decisions of leaders and the behaviors of citizens that make liars of us all. The truest slogan of our time may be "None of us are free until all of us are free," and that time can never come while millions suffer from poverty, illness and dis- crimination. Nor can we be at peace among ourselves or with the rest of the world until we recall Jesus' words: "Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto me." justice and only justice, you shall pursue (deut. 16:20)

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