At Bible study this morning one of our friends from the street made this observation as we reflected on scripture. Our understanding and appreciation of the law is shaped by our context, by what the scholars call “our social location.” Sometimes we would benefit from trying to view life from someone else’s context.
Imagine spending a weary day trying to find work or resources enough to get by, just for that day. Imagine being exhausted from walking across town. Imagine pausing to rest your head or stretch out on a vacant bench in a public park only to be told, “You can’t sleep there. Move it along.”
Our laws are meant to protect the most vulnerable among us but, if we are honest, we sometimes pass laws to protect our carefully constructed way of life from those who make us uncomfortable. We want to beautify our cities, to sanitize spaces paid for by our hard-earned tax dollars. We want the “problem” to go away but we don’t want to do the hard work of identifying and dismantling systems and policies that perpetuate poverty.
We need prophets among us to call out injustice. We need lawmakers who will listen to the silent cries of the voiceless as if they were their own children, their own family. After all we are, all of us, family.
To be despised for caring for the weak and hurting among us: that would be a beautiful thing.