Lindsay Wylie – Nov. 28, 2012
“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.” -Deuteronomy 15:7-11-
Over thanksgiving break I visited the Point Pleasant at the Jersey Shore, where my aunt lives. She drove my mom and me around and we saw hundreds of people working on tearing out the insulation and drywall from their homes because of the damage from flooding. It seemed like the whole town was working at its full capacity even though it was a Tuesday afternoon when most people would normally be at work, and it put into perspective the kind of sacrifice these people have to make in their day-to-day lives to recover from the storm. What surprised me the most was that on almost every street there was a group of people who had stopped outside their homes to rest and talk to each other. My aunt commented that what some of these people needed most was someone to talk to, and it struck me that no matter their own situation, one person or family would go out of their way to provide support and a sense of community to others. These people were depending upon that communal feeling to get them through this disaster, because the damage was mentally wearing almost as much as physically.
By seeing this sense of caring for each other, it occurred to me that no matter what our situation, we are all suffering in some way. But no matter the degree of our suffering, we are still able to provide support and aid for others. For some, it may be physical labor or monetary aid, for others, it may just be a stop to talk, share, and understand what someone else is dealing with. Even if we are suffering just as much as someone else, or in an entirely different way, we can still lend a hand to help them. God calls us to do his work by helping our neighbors in their need, and that is something that we should do willingly and ungrudgingly. Seeing the rewards of our efforts in their effects and knowing that we are doing the work that God commands us to do should give us joy in serving others through social justice.