September 4, 2023
What does it mean to labor…to work…to earn or make a living? Whether in a period of inflation, stagflation, or a robustly resilient economy, it’s reasonable to equate labor with a job—or the lack of one. And yet consolidating what it means to “make a living’’ with what may or may not provide a living wage, risks devaluing both the dignity of all created beings and the Gospel promise of “life abundant’’ (John 10:10). Mindful that our faith calls us to an expansive understanding of life, labor and love, A New Social Creed for the Twenty-First Century (2008) sets our living-making within the creative justice, deep relationality and restorative movements of the Triune God. For economies that thrust communities into subsistence-existence are counter to the commonwealth of God.
The New Social Creed builds not only upon the vast history of social witness by peoples of faith, but also on the “Social Creed’’ of 1908, a statement issued by the Federal Council of Churches. The original creed attended to the crushing realities of life in a rapidly industrializing world: unchecked exploitation of workers, rampant and cruel child labor abuses, and lack of regulation over workplaces ensuring health, safety and welfare. The New Creed continues to emphasize human rights and dignity, centering the “infinite worth” of all creation, equitable access to the necessities of food, health care, housing and meaningful vocation, along with peacemaking diplomacy across the globe and equitable practices for planetary sustainability. In short, the 2008 creed invites communities of faith to “commit to a culture of peace and freedom that embraces non-violence, nurtures character, treasures the environment, and builds community, rooted in a spirituality of inner growth and outward action.”
If a spirituality of inner growth and outward action speaks to you, read the New Social Creed! And why stop there? The Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) serves the prophetic calling of the whole Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) by providing the General Assembly with careful studies of pressing moral challenges [Resolution on Race, Reparative Justice and the PC(USA)], media for discussion and discernment of Christian responsibilities (Gun Violence, Gospel Values) , and policy recommendations for faithful action (Investing in a Green Future: A Vision for a Renewed Creation). If there are policies you’d like to see ACSWP address, we invite you to submit topics to the committee directly.
Dhawn Martin, Coordinator of ACSWP, Compassion Peace & Justice, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: A Social Creed for the 21st Century
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Brad Levy, Production Clerk, Presbyterian Distribution Center, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)
Amy Lewis, Mission Specialist I, Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Let us pray
Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer,
Pour out your grace upon all our labors. Heal what is broken in our hearts, hearths, and economies. Inspire our living-making that we might foster life abundant for all creation. Renew our energies when the needed tasks overwhelm. Bless the work of our hands that we might embody the justice, shalom, and connectedness of your commonwealth. Amen.
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