I have been thinking a lot about the disparity of wealth in this world. It’s really messed up. I can barely stomach listening to what one sports figure will get paid in their 3 year contract, or what another mogul is estimated to be “worth”. I hear people complain about the temperature of their bottled water while some drink out of filthy streams. I turn the gaze at myself and know that I have more than the majority of the world: I live in a comfortable house, have a closet of clothes and a refrigerator full of food. I am writing this as I sit on a plane having been able to visit Florida in March. I just got served a free drink.
In the big scheme of things, I would rank on the negative scale in Forbe’s magazine. I fundraise the money for my own salary- a salary that some people in the urban ministry field balk at. I have learned A LOT this past year about running an organization on next to nothing. Having said this I do not live under the poverty line. I know that I cannot shrug the truth that I am part of the problem.
The notion of “Jubilee” deeply resonates with me. Jubilee has roots in many religions, including Judaism and Christianity. In Biblical times every fiftieth year was considered the year of jubilee: debt was cancelled, slaves and prisoners were freed and property was returned to its original owners. We don’t live in a world where this happens on a grand scale anymore (though give http://rollingjubilee.org/ a read!). I wonder though what could happen if we began offering such pardon to people in our direct communities? Maybe even better, what might happen if we became brave enough to let our communities in on how we need help, and in return our communities became brave enough to respond, before spiralling into debt?
I am constantly challenged by my friends who have very little. When PNC was first facing our deep financial crisis a community member presented me with a garbage bag. Inside I discovered a pile of change. This person, this friend who lives rough outside, gave me all of his pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, because PNC needed it more than him. Yes, I wept. It was a little taste of Jubilee.
I want to taste it more.