Pentecost 15, Saturday, Year B

Inspired by Isaiah 33:1-9

“Ah, you, destroyer, who yourself have not been destroyed; you treacherous one, with whom no one has dealt treacherously! When you have ceased to destroy, you will be destroyed; and when you have stopped dealing treacherously, you will be dealt with treacherously.” Isaiah 33:1 (NRSV)

In this day and age, we’re encouraged to ‘look out for number one,’ or do whatever it takes to make sure our own interests are achieved and not worry about anyone else. Sometimes this is done ethically, but it’s all too easy to cut a corner here, cheat just a little bit there, and not notice the far-reaching consequences of our actions.

But most of our actions do have far-reaching consequences and impact the lives of those we’ll never meet. While it’s trivial to ignore their existence, the truth is that they do exist, and they have to live with the consequences of our actions. And though we may never meet them, or even hear their stories, they are just as much God’s beloved children as we are, and just as deserving of grace, mercy, and justice.

Consider the choices you make, the votes you cast, the products and companies you support with your purchases. If you enjoy a discount at the expense of someone else having to work in unsafe conditions, is it worth it? If your comfort is maintained at the expense of someone else living in poverty, is it worth it? How would you feel if the situation were reversed and you were at the mercy of someone else making decisions that benefitted them, regardless of the cost to you?

Those who have never experienced such an environment have difficulty recognizing the human costs of their choices. Seek out the stories of those who do live in such environments, and consider what changes you can make to encourage justice over exploitation.

Let us pray. Compassionate Lord, you know injustice is the reality for so many of your people. Help us to better understand how we are interconnected, that we may establish more equitable ways of functioning in the world. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.