Yesterday (October 14th), two seemingly different things happened to me. Firstly, during the course of a pastoral conversation, I discussed what could be done to stop the wars and conflicts, a cause of so much of the recent migration of people from developing countries to developed countries (Europe America, Canada and Australia). We have in the daily news witnessed events, where desperate people, trying to find a new more secure home, have in the attempt lost their lives
The second thing that happened to me, later that same day, was when I was reading my daily paper. I was struck by a headline in the Financial News, where a report claimed that in 2015 1% of the world’s population, 34 million people, now have 50% of the world’s wealth? Global inequality is increasing at an alarming rate. Another telling statistic was that you only need to have £2100 to be in the richest 50% of the world’s population and £45,000 to be in the top 10% of the world’s richest people. Those are surprising but at the same time frightening statistics. Statistics highlighting that unless the world’s peoples address how the world’s resources are shared out among all its people the present situation will not change
At the heart of Jesus’ teaching in the New Testament are the two great commandments, Love God with all you have and are and your neighbour as yourself. This is very challenging teaching for Christians. Jesus goes into more detail about this in his teaching about wealth in the Sermon on the Mount where he says...
"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6: 24
Our Lord challenges us to use all our resources for his kingdom. He challenges us about our loyalty in following him. How often do churches get more taken up with the concerns of the church building rather than those of people? God’s kingdom is people centred!
One further observation, next month is November, when on Remembrance Sunday and November 11th we shall remember again those killed in wars past and present.
This year marks 70 years since the Second World War ended. However the world does not seem to have become a more peaceful place. Christians must continue to encourage their leaders to work for a world where its resources are more equably shared. A world in which people from the developed world are prepared to take less so others from the under developed can have more. For unless we do change greatly the way we live, human conflicts will continue and the recent news headlines will increasingly become very regular occurrences..
With best wishes