Read Amos 8:1-12
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.” (Zechariah 7:9-10)
While I am not one to get caught up in celebrity or royalty, it is hard to do anything in this day and age without getting a glimpse, whether one wants to or not, into the lives of famous people. The latest story to be gripping the news and the world is the royal family’s newest addition to the list of heirs. “Baby Cambridge” as people are affectionately naming him until his name is officially announced, has been born to Prince William and Princess Kate and the world is going “goo goo ga ga” over the idea that this little prince has been born. It is easy for anyone, myself included, to find themselves getting caught up in the excitement of a newborn baby.
Let’s pause there for a second. How many babies were born in the world today? How many were born in your particular part of the world today? How many babies were born in your town today? Who are those babies, what are there names, where are the cameras, crowds and global celebrations over their births? We give so much of our attention to the birth of this one child and nearly no thought, let alone our attention, to the countless children born around the world.
Beyond that, what about the children who were not so fortunate to be born into a royal family. How about the children that weren’t even fortunate enough to be born into a middle-class family? How about those countless children around the world that were born into abject poverty? Why is it that we are so glamoured by celebrity and fame that we will celebrate the birth of royalty all the while turning a blind eye to the countless births into a seemingly endless poverty?
The point of this is not to begrudge the royal family or to take anything away from their celebration, in which I am sure they could only wish for some privacy; rather, the point of this is for us to pause and think about the nameless, faceless babies out there who will be lacking almost everything they need to survive, let alone thrive, in this world. The point is for us to pause and take note of the babies whose births mirror that of another “king”, who was born into abject poverty nearly two thousand years ago.
That “king” grew up in a world that didn’t think twice about him either, even as it nailed him to a cross. Yet, prior to his humiliating death, this “king” would teach us that the economy of heaven is much different than the economy of humanity. In God’s view, the only royalty is born of humility. In God’s view, the master is numbered among the slaves. In God’s view, the winners are those who are counted by the world as losers. In God’s view, the rich can only be found among the poorest of the poor.
It is this vantage point that Jesus calls us to embrace. It is from God’s view that we should be seeing things. While we ought to be glad that another life has made its way into the world, we should also be sad that such a life would be held in higher regard than anyone else’s. After all, aren’t we all created EQUALLY in God’s image? What is more royal than that? Let us celebrate every life on this this planet, not in mere words and festivities, but through fighting against all forms of oppression and inequality, and by bearing the hope, healing and wholeness that God has to offer.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.” – Robert F. Kennedy
Gracious God, forgive me for the ways in which I have been a part of a system of inequality and use me to tear down walls of separation wherever they may stand. Amen.