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Swords into plowshares

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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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October 5, 2013

Season of Peace Reflection for 10/5

James 2:1–9

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

Reflection: Corporate-led globalization has resulted in a growing gap between the rich and the poor. The world’s income distribution resembles the shape of a champagne glass: the top 20 percent of the world’s people live in those countries that receive 83 percent of the world’s income. The next 20 percent receive 10 percent of the world’s income. The remaining 60 percent of the world’s people share the 7 percent of world income that is left. From this global perspective, [North] Americans are among the richest 20 percent of the world’s population. (Consider that 40 percent of the world’s people attempt to live on less than $2 a day.) Most [North] Americans live on much more than that.

We maintain our privileged economic position in the world through US military might, as well as through military aid and weapons sales to governments around the world. The United States is the largest supplier of arms in the world. In many cases, these weapons are used by militaries against their own people in order to maintain a stable environment for corporate investments. Militarization makes corporate-led globalization possible.

Question for discernment: We live in the richest country in the world. Have we amassed our relative wealth at the expense of others? Is our country’s wealth a result of God’s blessing or our own human greed?

Prayer: God, we know you to be a God of love, and we are grateful that you love us. But we also know you to be a God of justice and that you have a special concern for the poor and downtrodden. Help us to stand in solidarity with the poor and to work together with them and with you to build a more just society.

Categories: Peace

Tags: peace, peacemaking, special offerings


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