Making peace by addressing root causes of poverty
Hearing good news
Rev. Miriam Foltz
My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh, the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent;
for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.
Reflection: Jeremiah heard the trumpet; I hear cell phone news alerts. Of late, these alerts have been of the Jeremiah 4:19 nature. Even before I read the headline, I feel my pulse rate elevating and my apocalyptic warning bells going off. The news cycle does not make for peaceful contemplation. So it was a gift to see a recent New York Times headline: “Winning the War on Poverty.” Could it actually be happening here?! The secondary headline clarified: “The Canadians are doing it; we’re not.” Ah.
Between 2015 and 2017, the poverty rate in Canada decreased by 20%. How? A multi-faceted strategy of community conversations, a context-specific plan addressing localized issues, and ultimately a lot of collaborative activities based on geographic concentration of social services. Such a process involves trust and patience. Do we have the community trust and corporate patience to do the same?
How do we move from panic about poverty to recognizing that effective solutions require relational trust? How can we hear Christ’s words that “the poor will always be with you” not as an excuse to ignore poverty, but as an expression of our vocation: to walk alongside people who are poor?
Action: It will take a cultural shift for our nation to move from the ‘war on poverty’ mentality to community-based solutions that address root causes. Take some time today to consider the way your church interacts with people who are poor. Do your ministries focus on short-term relief or long-term stability? How might your community creatively adapt these ministries to address both?
Prayer: Holy God, Three-in-One, what are you up to today? The unknowns in our lives overwhelm us. We feel like we are only a couple of steps away from disaster. The trumpets sound all around us. Speak your quiet whisper to settle our hearts. Provide us with imagination and patience. May your kingdom come this day; we await the news alert to our phones. Amen.
Rev. Foltz serves as pastor for New Castle Presbyterian Church in New Castle, DE. She loves reading, making music, and expanding her understanding of God and her neighbors through everyday conversations and international travel when possible.
This year’s A Season of Peace Resources are designed to help Presbyterians explore different forms and lenses for peacemaking. From the personal level to global issues, these reflections and prayers will help grow the faith and witness of the whole church. Through the 29 days of this year’s Season of Peace, we are invited to reflect upon:
- What does it mean to commit to Peace?
- Making peace by addressing root causes of poverty
- Making peace by disrupting systematic racism
- Making peace by ending violence
- Making peace by supporting refugees and migrants
- Partaking in peace in worship and at table this World Communion Sunday and through the Peace & Global Witness Offering
Each author represents a variety of vocations and experiences in peacemaking efforts. Individuals and households are invited to make use of these daily reflections beginning on Sunday, September 1, and concluding on World Communion Sunday, October 6.