10.10.10 - let’s act on poverty - +Peter Bath and Wells 8.9.10 that is the date on which I am writing this article.  “So what?”  You might think.  “What’s in a date?”  Well, some dates are more significant than others. Take 9.11 for example.  Even though the date order is American, we know it refers to the time in 2001 when the Twin Towers were destroyed in New York with some 3,000 fatalities. Next year will begin 1.1.11 but there is a date this year that is symmetrical too, 10.10.10.  On this date we are being encouraged to meet the Micah Challenge in some way.  The Micah Challenge is to encourage people and organisations to make promises to get on board with anti- poverty action, to pray and act to end poverty in our world.  The Archbishop of Canterbury is supporting this, and has said, that ‘When God tells us to remember the poor he is not simply asking us to give them a thought from time to time.  Remembrance in the Bible is a very real and active thing.’

Micah was a prophet, and he saw clearly that to end poverty and injustice was a primary call on people who really want to know God’s will.  “Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God,” he told his listeners.  I have found it helpful to look at it as a kind of Christian equation: Doing justice = loving mercy = walking humbly with God
Loving mercy = walking humbly with God = doing justice
Walking humbly with God = doing justice = loving mercy However we look at it, the Micah Challenge is a global movement of over 100 million people committing themselves
to work for the meeting of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.  We as a diocese are committed to working for this, but there is still a long way to go.  
It is not just a question of digging deeper in our pockets, but of changing the structures that keep millions in poverty and despair. It is said that over half the world’s population live on less than one US dollar a day.  On today’s exchange rate, that’s about 65p.  I have wondered if we had one day of trying to do that in our churches, how we would manage.  I think I know how we should.  It would mean pooling resources, helping support families where there was only one bread winner, and would mean asking questions, not least, how come so few people really care? So let’s think about poverty, let’s pray about poverty, let’s act on poverty.  Not least because Jesus said, “blessed are you poor, the kingdom belongs to you.” Maybe one day it will.