Day 2Do you want to be well?
So yesterday I was at a meeting that ran for some hours. Those hours included lunch. Under normal circumstances, I would have been very excited because it was catered (a word I use with considerable energy). There were three platters: sharp sticks laden with fresh and exotic fruits; sandwiches filled with egg-mayonnaise, ham and lettuce; a mound of rich dark chocolate brownie lightly dusted with icing sugar.
I had a cup of cooked rice. With salt and pepper.
And this got me to thinking about the gospel reading of the day (John 5). When Jesus encountered the man at the pool of Bethesda who had been sick for 38 years he asked him one question: "Do you want to be well?" For many years I have talked about this passage in terms of healing and wholeness, miracles and authority. I have even reflected on how difficult it is for someone suffering from a long-term illness to adjust to the fact they have been healed.
But I have never thought in terms of fruit and vegetables. For those 767 000 000 people who live below the line every day fruit and vegetables are luxury items, and being well is an enormous challenge. In New Zealand it is not impossible to get 'full' on $2.85 per day: a 99c loaf of white bread will fill a person up. However, a 99c loaf of bread will not make you well. Neither will 2-minute noodles. In fact the cycle of poverty consistently predicts that reduced income impacts upon diet which affects health. As people's health deteriorates their capacity to function well is diminished and therefore their opportunities to work are affected. And the downward spiral continues ...
Do hungry people want to be well? Of course. Does our society want to be well? I am not convinced. Our systems and structures contribute to ill health and lost opportunities. As Christians we are called to transform unjust structures.
So, as you pray today, please reflect on what you do to transform unjust structures and to create opportunities.
To learn more about "live below the line" and to make a pledge to the team please go here: https://www.livebelowtheline.org.nz/fundraisers/stjohnstheologicalcollege
Story Published: 14th of March - 2018