Isaiah 1:17 (NRSV)
Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.
Isaiah 58:6-7 (MSG)
This is the kind of fast day I'm after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I'm interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.
Psalm 82:1-4 (MSG)
God calls the judges into his courtroom, he puts all the judges in the dock. “Enough! You've corrupted justice long enough, you've let the wicked get away with murder. You're here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break; Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who exploit them.”
Micah 6:8 (NRSV)
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Matthew 22:36-40 (NRSV)
‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
Luke 4:16-18 (NRSV)
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free...
Deuteronomy 24:17-22 (MSG)
Make sure foreigners and orphans get their just rights. Don't take the cloak of a widow as security for a loan. Don't ever forget that you were once slaves in Egypt and God, your God, got you out of there. I command you: Do what I'm telling you. When you harvest your grain and forget a sheaf back in the field, don't go back and get it; leave it for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow so that God, your God, will bless you in all your work. When you shake the olives off your trees, don't go back over the branches and strip them bare-what's left is for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow. And when you cut the grapes in your vineyard, don't take every last grape-leave a few for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow. Don't ever forget that you were a slave in Egypt. I command you: Do what I'm telling you.
Luke 1:46-53 (NRSV)
And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
1 John 4:20-21 (MSG)
If anyone boasts, "I love God," and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both.
James 1:27a (NRSV)
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress...
Proverbs 31:8-9 (NRSV)
Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
James 2:14-17 (NRSV)
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
Stories, Links and Video
My name is Kikka. In 1992 I moved from Venezuela to New York. I thought I was going to be working as a nanny, but my boyfriend forced me into being a prostitute. He had a lot of debts to pay and used me as a sex slave to make money. This was my life for three years. Beaten. Raped. And every time I tried to leave, he said he would have me deported from the United States and I could never see my children again.
My name is Peg. I’m 55 years old and I’m from Missouri. I have a daughter who is disabled and had two grandchildren living with me. Last year I was working three part-time jobs to support them all, but in February I had a heart attack, missed work and fell behind on my mortgage payments. The bank foreclosed on my house and I had to move in with my nephew and his wife. We all share a one-bedroom apartment. Hopefully I’ll get back to work soon.
My name is Tina. I’m 16 years old and I was born HIV-positive. I found out when I was 8. My brother and mother are both HIV-positive, too. I can’t tell you how many pills I’ve had to take in my life. Many of them I couldn’t even swallow at first. It’s my freshman year of high school and I constantly have thoughts like, “I want to die and I deserve to die.” I cry a lot and I wonder, “Why me?” But somehow I stay strong.
My name is Neineh and in 2006 I came by myself to the United States. I grew up in Burma – a dangerous place where the military will shoot and kill villagers for no reason. Gunfire is all around. You can’t sleep at night and many of the kids I grew up with became child soldiers. In all, more than 70,000 children have been forced into Burma’s military. My family fled to Thailand, but even there, I didn’t feel safe. I miss my family and I miss my home. My family is now living in a refugee camp along the Thailand-Burma border. Something has to change. My people – my family – need freedom.
My name is Ryan, I’m 17 years old and I’m in the closet. I realized I was different from other boys at around age 4 or 5. At school, people taunt me and they beat me up – all because I’m different. I’ve had to internalize every feeling I have. I can’t express myself. On a daily basis I feel like I’m in prison. I feel like I’m in hell. I hear stories on the news of teenagers just like me who kill themselves and it makes me wonder, “Would anyone miss me?” Doesn’t seem like it. I wish one day people would realize what I go through. But for now, I’m still in the closet.
My name is Eddie. I’m 42 years old. I dropped out of high school to join the Navy and then went to work at a few good jobs. But in 1996 my life fell apart. I made a few horrible mistakes and was arrested. I served five years in prison and have since turned my life around. I’ve overcome addictions to cocaine, alcohol and sex and am now serious about following Jesus. But here’s my story now: I can’t find work other than a few odd jobs here and there and I can’t pay my bills. They’re gonna cut off my electricity and my phone lines. And I can only afford to eat one meal a day. I’m just barely getting by. Barely.
Setlist (iTunes links provided)
For Everyone Born