based on Psalm 146
Editor’s Note: From The Christian Citizen archives. This article first
Deborah L. Hughes
October 15, 2018
I don’t know if Will Olsen was a saint or just a sage, but he modeled the best in faithful leadership by his example.
During the Depression, children would stop by the local meat market after school. There, they would find the shopkeeper, Mr. Olsen, sweeping the aisles. “Take care of the corners,” he advised, “and the aisles will take care of themselves.”
You have been elected to a position of great honor and power. You will make decisions in the coming term that will affect millions of lives for good or for naught. I do not envy the burdens that will weigh upon your conscience. You must ask yourself each day: To whom do I owe my allegiance?
You will be held accountable by the electorate, your political party, and the political action groups, corporations
In ten verses, Psalm 146 provides us with a primer for authentic faith. First, praise God before you do anything else. Remember that God created all of the cosmos and all of life. You can trust and hope in God, who is eternal, and that will bring you true happiness. There is no point in putting your faith in humans, no matter how high their office or how great their wealth. They die, their power dies, and their plans die, too. Pledge your allegiance to God.
Next, the Psalmist shares God’s agenda. These are the things God wants
In the days of the Psalmist, the widow and orphan were particularly vulnerable in society. By law, a woman or child could not own property; only an adult male had this privilege. When a husband died, any holdings (including house and land) would pass to the nearest adult male relative. The widow would then be completely dependent on that relative’s benevolence for food and shelter. If there was no male relative,
There is no doubt that your new position gives you power and authority over the lives of others. Who are the widows and orphans that God has placed in your care? Who are those who have neither voice nor power to speak for themselves? Who are those without access to fair work and trade? Who are those made vulnerable by our laws and customs? Who are those with neither the means nor the ability to fend for themselves? Take care of the corners…
In an agrarian society, the means to sustenance are a fertile plot, tools to turn the soil, seed, water and able hands. In an industrial nation, the means to sustenance are education, a living wage, transportation
In this country, there are those who work in our fields but come home at the end of the day with no food for their own table. There are those who work a full day but cannot afford a safe space to live. There are those who do not have access to basic medical or dental care. There are even those in this country who do not have adequate sanitation or fresh water to drink. Yet, there are sufficient resources to meet the needs of all those in this country and in our world. Take care of the corners…
God is concerned about prisoners. In some states, prisons are now owned by corporations and guard unions have become powerful lobbying forces. If the largest employer in town is the prison (and someone else’s tax base in another state is paying for it), then every local citizen benefits directly or indirectly when the system incarcerates as many people as possible for as
long as possible. How can we avoid corruption in the justice system when there are people profiting from those in jail? Take care of the corners…
God expects us to care for the stranger in our midst. In these days of heightened security, our boundaries are important to us, and we see people as allies or enemies—as “us” or “them.” Yet, our boundaries are insignificant to the One who fashioned the whole world. No nation or person has more claims to God’s attention or benevolence than any other. God holds us accountable for how we treat each of God’s children. Take care of the corners…
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