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Summary: Setting: Sermon given during Annual multi-church Mid-Week Lent service which is limited to 30 min for the entire service. Sermon seeks to connect Lent and the Messiah with Poverty and the issues of Poor in our Country and our communities.

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(The Message) Isaiah 59:15

12-15Our wrongdoings pile up before you, God,

our sins stand up and accuse us.

Our wrongdoings stare us down;

we know in detail what we’ve done:

Mocking and denying God,

not following our God,

Spreading false rumors, inciting sedition,

pregnant with lies, muttering malice.

Justice is beaten back,

Righteousness is banished to the sidelines,

Truth staggers down the street,

Honesty is nowhere to be found,

Good is missing in action.

Anyone renouncing evil is beaten and robbed.

15-19God looked and saw evil looming on the horizon—

so much evil and no sign of Justice.

He couldn’t believe what he saw:

not a soul around to correct this awful situation.

So he did it himself, took on the work of Salvation,

fueled by his own Righteousness.

He dressed in Righteousness, put it on like a suit of armor,

with Salvation on his head like a helmet,

Put on Judgment like an overcoat,

and threw a cloak of Passion across his shoulders.

He’ll make everyone pay for what they’ve done:

fury for his foes, just deserts for his enemies.

Even the far-off islands will get paid off in full.

In the west they’ll fear the name of God,

in the east they’ll fear the glory of God,

For he’ll arrive like a river in flood stage,

whipped to a torrent by the wind of God.

My Mother told me I could do and be anything I wanted to be if I dreamed and worked hard enough for it. I took these words to heart, despite growing up in the craziness of Marlboro County, South Carolina. Today, too many children in Marlboro and Darlington County and throughout America are not being taught to dream and to work hard for a better future.

Unemployment in this county has hovered between 18 and 20 percent for long periods of time and many children there have never seen anyone in their family able to find a job and go to work.

Hopelessness and despair is too often the product of poverty. Today, 15.5 million children are living in poverty in America—the highest child poverty rate the nation has seen since 1959. And the younger the children are the poorer they are. Recently released U.S. Census Bureau data confirmed our worst fears about the impact of the recent recession. Nearly four million Americans fell into poverty last year.

And worst of all, children experienced the steepest rise in poverty and the largest single year increase since the 1960s.

I have always stayed close to the work of Children’s Defense Fund and one of their recent reports by Julia Cass’ who according to Mrs. Marian Wright-Edelman puts human faces on the statistics that tell the frightening and heartbreaking reality of how poverty is impacting America’s children.

Cass found that despite safety net protections put in place over the past generations, poor children are still adrift in a sea of poverty with their future in jeopardy.

Years of research link childhood poverty to a multitude of poor outcomes: lower academic attainment, higher rates of teen pregnancy and incarceration, a greater chance of health and behavioral problems, and lifelong poverty.

I want to go on record and say that the greatest threat to America’s national Home land security comes from no enemy in the North Africa, North Korea or without but from our own failure to protect, invest in, and educate all of our children who make up all of our futures in this global economy. If the leaders in Congress want to really do something in a Christian Ethos they don’t need to cut programs and budgets but find more money to deal with poverty.


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