November 21, 2021
Matthew 25: Eradicate Systemic Poverty Sunday asks us to look at the structures in our society that all but guarantee that people living in poverty will stay that way.
In the foundational parable for the Matthew 25 vision (Matthew 25:34–36), those who meet the needs of the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked and the imprisoned are the ones welcomed by the king, who then recognizes them as his sheep. Each of those conditions that Jesus lists, added together, constitute systemic poverty.
As Reformed Christians, Presbyterians believe that government is God’s agent when it comes to the providential care of people. We also believe that Creation is entrusted to our care. A crucial part of our worship and mission is to stand together for the common good.
Eradicating systemic poverty moves beyond the important acts of compassion listed in Matthew 25 — offering compassion to individuals who are hungry and thirsty — to address the factors that cause such outcomes for large groups in our society and world.
Jesus was not crucified because he was feeding the hungry and healing the sick. He was persecuted and executed when he “troubled the waters” — disturbing those with political, social and economic power.
Communities living in poverty can find their own solutions and also need solidarity and encouragement from people at all levels of society, from local communities to church leaders to policymakers and international supporters. How is your church organizing, networking and advocating for concrete solutions to the systems of poverty in your area?
To learn more, watch the videos “What Does Poverty Look Like in America?” and “Eradicating Systemic Poverty.” Both are created to demonstrate the layered and complicated issue of systemic poverty, as well as highlight steps churches and mid councils are taking to make a difference in lives.
The Matthew 25 vision brings the guidance of Matthew 25:31–46 into focus for our present moment.
Melody K. Smith, Organizational Communications Manager, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 21, 2021, Christ the King (Reign of Christ) Sunday (Year B)
Today’s Focus: Matthew 25: Eliminate Systemic Poverty Sunday
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray
Giver of all things, you loved the world into life.
You taught us to speak out for what is right.
Make us content with nothing less than a world
that is transformed into the shape of love,
where poverty shall be no more.
We ask for the grace to see the abundance of our world and
enough awareness to acknowledge our sins of greed and fear.
Give us openness of soul and courageous, willing hearts
to be with our siblings who are hungry and in pain.
Inspire us with the vision of a world without poverty,
and give us the faith, courage and will to make it happen.
Lord, hear our prayer.