The Church and its sacred writings are clear about God’s concern for the vulnerable in our societies. God commands the Israelites not to take advantage of the poor and those at risk in their midst (Exod. 22:20-26). God tells the people to not harvest all of their crops, so that there might be some leftover for those who could not afford to buy food (Lev. 19:9-10). God desires not showy and loud acts of repentance, but “to loose the bonds of injustice… to let the oppressed go free.. to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house” (Isa. 58:6-7).
Jesus commands the Christian community to take care of the marginalized, the oppressed, and the “least of these.” Jesus identifies with those in need and makes clear that as we serve others, we serve Him through them. When Jesus said, “blessed are the poor” (Luke 6:20), He was also speaking to people who were not poor, and who needed to hear that how we treat those in need reflects our relationship with God. Christ called for us to give up our worldly possessions to the poor and to follow Him (Mark 10:21); the earliest Christian communities worked to take care of the poor and needy among them, even selling their possessions to care for each other (Acts 2:44-45).
Christians in The Episcopal Church vow to seek and serve Christ in all persons and to strive for justice and peace among all people (BCP 305). Working together to eliminate poverty and oppression is a big part of how we restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. At ECF, we partner with nonprofits and Episcopal parishes to provide aid to those who are vulnerable in our communities. By opening our hearts to the poor and oppressed (1 John 3:17), we hope that both helpers and those being helped will draw closer to one another and to God.