by Gary Maring
Readings: Psalm 146, Isaiah 60:17-22, Matthew 9:27-34
This winter has been ‘desert times’ for many; particularly for the poor, unemployed, and homeless in America. For the homeless it has been especially brutal; the frigid weather this winter has brought countless deaths on the street. Food stamp benefits for the poor were cut by some $8 billion in the recently enacted farm bill, so more will go hungry. Congress continues to fail to move forward on a bill to restore long-term unemployment benefits affecting some 1.7 million people who are long-term unemployed.
For the working poor, the scene is equally dismal as Congress refuses to increase the minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 cents for years (that’s less than $15,000 per year; imagine a worker trying to support a family on this amount!). So many have been left wandering in our economic desert.
Yet Psalm 146 gives hope, saying in part: “God gives justice to the poor and food to the hungry… He gives a helping hand to everyone who falls.” In Isaiah, God suggests that when the right times comes he will quickly see that this happens; so we must have faith in this Lenten season that God will soon lead all of his people out of the desert.
Holy God, we pray particularly for the poor, homeless, hungry, and oppressed who have been stranded in the desert, that they may be led into the Promised Land.