Something to think about
Almost a decade ago, I walked into the Christian Aid offices for the first day of my internship. As the induction programme began, explaining the mission and work of the charity, I was expecting to learn about projects that fed hungry people, or cleaned up dirty water, and made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
I’m sure there were examples of programmes shared, but I don’t remember any specifics now. What I do remember, clear as day, were the words that made me sit bolt upright: ‘We challenge the systems and structures that keep people poor’. From that moment, I was all in.
These famous verses from Isaiah, and the longer chapter from which they’re taken, serve as inspiration for all kinds of faith-fuelled social action. It is significant, I think, that before the apparently more direct actions for those in need – feeding, housing, and clothing – God instructs his people to set them free from ‘bonds of injustice’. A person chained up and bound by a system that perpetuates poverty may benefit once from a meal handed through the bars. But true freedom comes from ripping the bars away, and sharing bread together.