We live in a world of economic disparities, and in a time when these disparities are widening. The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer, and many in the U.S.A. support economic plans which would further reward those currently referred to as "the 1 percent."
Some might justify economic disparities as endorsed by the Lord Himself, as Jesus suggests that "[Y]e have the poor with you always" (Mark 14:7) -- as though poverty were inevitable. Clearly, though, that scripture is not a suggestion that poverty should be casually tolerated. Mary, the Lord's mother, understanding that she would give birth to the Savior, praises God in these words: "He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away" (Luke 1:52-53). Part of Jesus' mission was to inspire equality. He would heal the divide between the "haves" and the "have-nots." This was not be the "pie in the sky when die" but efforts accomplished here on Earth as facilitated by any who identified themselves as His disciples. Regardless of which sect they belong to, these disciples represent the master they serve. The Lord himself says that whenever we help "the least of these" (the hungry, the thirsty, the disinherited, the naked, the imprisoned), we also serve Him (Matthew 25:35-40).
God has endowed the Earth with resources enough for all to live respectable lives. A loving Father could do nothing else. Miracles throughout the scriptures indicate that God can magnify our paltry offerings, making five loaves and two fish sufficient to feed 5,000 people. Perhaps those who gathered to hear Christ added their own portions to the basket of food, thus becoming part of the miracle.
Over the years, many in the Christian Right have proclaimed their belief that this nation, the United States of America, was brought into being by the very hand of God. The reasoning has been that God's love for His children is so great that He ordained a land which would embrace righteous, charitable principles to be enjoyed not only by those within its borders but by those of other lands as well.
Yet here we are in 2011, and the gap between rich and poor is as great as it has ever been. Has God changed His concerns for His children, or are we now attempting to reframe the principles upon which this nation was founded, and which grew to include laws and programs specifically addressing the needs of "the least of these"? Are we serving God or Mammon? Our priorities and our sense of fairness are being shifted. The tail is wagging the dog. Greed has overtaken us.
It is time to remember the words of Revelation 22:17, directed to all of humanity without discrimination: "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
May we all be blessed.
Bro. Darius A. Gray
(A Christian in the Mormon tradition)