Faith at Work I

August 2004

Throughout the bible, we find God active in the world with a bias to the poor; Jesus, at the start of his ministry, quoted the prophet Isaiah declaring that he had come "to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour" [Luke 4:18]. We were persuasively reminded of that by our speakers at the Black Country Celebration for the Year of Justice and Care on 12th June in Walsall organised by BCUIM and supported by the Diocese of Lichfield.

Both Brian Griffiths, of Goldman Sachs, and Daleep Mukarji, of Christian Aid, were in support of "the Market" but from rather different perspectives. One saw it as the only effective driver for growth and felt that wealth creation together with a responsible approach to business was vital to our global village. The other was concerned that the Market had to be tied effectively to development in the poorest parts of the world. Traidcraft shares that vision and it is good to see Fair Trade gaining ground in our shops and represented on the stall at the back of church. In our afternoon workshops, we explored balance and justice at work in the world - we wondered whether the Market really was available to all.

John Bell, of the Iona Community, also led us in worship and in his own inimitable style had us singing new songs in three-part harmony from scratch and without accompaniment; it can be done and he makes it seem so simple. Alongside laughter, singing can be so therapeutic and meaningful that it can be a truly transforming aspect of our worship. But he engaged us with the gospel too - read again the parable of the labourers being hired for the vineyard and receiving equal pay, whether they had worked for the whole of the day or just the last hour [Matthew 20] - during this gospel reading, John asked half of us to work all day and the other half just the last hour; the responses became our prayer. Our last song (to an upbeat Tallis's Canon - go on, try it) charged us with building a fairer world:

And God meant money, food and health
To be all people's commonwealth,
And charged no nation to forget
Those racked by pain, or doomed by debt.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Christ who met us here below;
And praise the Spirit with good cheer,
One Holy God forever near.

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
and subsequent experience during ministry in the parish of Codsall and the BCUIM.
This page was last updated on 2004-06-21

Copyright 2004 Mike Fox
All Rights Reserved