Vicar’s Reflection: 22 July 2018 Social Services
Through the month of July, we dedicate each Sunday to special areas of the Church’s work in the world. Today we focus on Social Services. Providing services that meet social need flows naturally from our understanding of what is at the heart of God’s concern. There are many examples from the Psalms and the Prophets urging a compassionate response to those in need. Jesus’ ministry also shows that concern for the suffering and impoverished is a hall-mark of being close to the purpose and concern of God. The problem is, how can we do this without creating dependency? How can we lift people out of poverty without bruising their dignity and destroying their initiative? How can we nurture people in their ability to care for themselves; gain satisfaction from the work of their hands and achieve a standard of living that meets their own needs and contributes to the common good? Jesus’ much quoted words: “The poor you will always have with you” (Matt. 26:11) indicate this issue will be persistent. A clue to the solution is to be found in what Jesus did whenever he helped someone. He sent them back to their family and community, where they could return to productive lives. Work has its own dignity. Communities must recognise that work for the creation of wealth may be beyond some; but serving others and contributing to the common good is also work, and deserves reward and respect.