Let Us Begin A Journey For Justice

Another great day in the neighborhood. We had a couple or three celebrities in church today: a great country singer, my friend, Jim Roth having edged away from the scruffy look but always looking good, Joe Dorman Democratic Candidate for Governor of Oklahoma,  along with who I hope will be my next State Representative Collin Walke Candidate for House District 87, in Oklahoma. All great people.

We had a great message from our Associate Minister the Reverend Lori Walke on Labor issues and other issues from time of Moses to current events that are now unfolding across our world. I was able to relate to that in my talk during Prayers of the People, my part for Labor in the Pulpit for 2014 at my church, Mayflower Congregational Church in OKC.

Good morning. As you may have notice I’m not Nancy Musselman for one thing she is so much more better looking than me and we won’t go any further in that direction. This has been a summer of soft gentle rains, beautifully crafted mornings, sweetly turned evenings, gorgeously cool nights, a summer of polar vortex cold fronts, quite a few not so sweat able days. And just enough of those hot humid Oklahoma summer days to let us know that it ain’t summer in Oklahoma until we’ve cooked without a stove at least once.

But for those who toil at the lower end of the economic scale and have little, this summer, this year hasn’t been kind. They face every day another crisis; a crisis born of hunger and need because the wages they receive are so low they often don’t know how they will be able to put enough food on the table to feed their families.

On the eve of a holiday started by workers for workers millions of workers are still facing food insecurity and homelessness because the pay they receive cannot allow them to adequately feed, clothe and house their families. One in four children go to bed hungry every night in a nation that is the richest and has the most abundant of food supplies in the world.

We as Christians should ask ourselves this question – Where would Jesus stand on the issue of a living wage? He did not say anywhere that I have ever read, “Blessed are the rich for they shall prosper against all others!” He did say, “What you do unto the least of mine, you also do unto me!”

As for me, I believe Jesus, would be out on the street with a picket sign in his hands, “saying I am ready to go to jail for justice, raise the minimum wage, free my children from oppressive poverty, pay them their worth for the work that they do.” Of course that might just be, my radically subversive union mind on overload.

But I don’t believe that to be true, his teachings have always lead me to the conclusion that Jesus, was himself a radically subversive thinker; cut from the same cloth as the kind of thinkers that wrote our constitution. And that he too believed in justice for all. That he too believed in ensuring the domestic tranquility. That he too believed in promoting the general welfare, for every single other. Every single other as we say right here in this beautiful sanctuary every Sunday.

Those ideas were radically subversive for the time of the American Revolution, they were radically subversive for the time in which Jesus lived, and they strangely enough have become radically subversive for our time. For me Jesus is about love and compassion and if you have compassion you have to believe that every single other deserves to have a living wage. For as a certain minister we all know says “Either we all matter or none of us do!” Me, I’m with Robin in that I believe every single other does matter. And in my heart I believe that Jesus feels the same way.

He isn’t here with us today physically, but he is here in our hearts, in our minds and in our thoughts, and he is saying, “The time is right and it is the right time; pay my children a living wage so they too can cultivate their better natures. So they too can know the domestic tranquility that others are blessed with.”

There are those in our nation who have the power to make the lives of low-wage workers and their families better. But, I wonder are they listening?

Let Us Begin A Journey For Justice

For those that toil and need so much,
Seldom get any help from those out of touch,
Out of touch with the realities of life,
Who can’t see that some people are torn in strife.

Strife to barely keep their families fed,
Because they lack food and often bread,
Their wages are so terribly, terribly low,
That they have no place they can go.

We must find a way to enrich their lives,
Make an effort to do more that prostelize,
Because as my minister is fond of saying too,
Either we all matter or none of us do.

I believe that we matter each and everyone,
That none so much matters more than one,
That we must help lift up those in need,
Try to find a way to overcome avarice and greed.

To find a way for all to earn what they are due,
To receive a fair and living wage not just me or you,
On this Labor Day as we celebrate workers again,
Let the journey towards justice for all now begin.

Bob Bearden


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