Psalm 19: 7 – 14
Numbers 11: 4-6, 10-16, 24-29
Mark 9:38 – 50
On Sunday, October 7, we plan to celebrate Holy Communion in our worship service. We will be joining millions of Christians around the world in observing World Communion Sunday.
World Communion Sunday is also the traditional time to receive the Neighbors In Need offering. Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. The 2018 theme for the NIN offering is "Love of Neighbor." This ties in with the UCC’s recent emphasis on “Three Great Loves”: living out God’s love by expressing love of neighbor, children and creation.
(Much of this article is drawn from these websites you may wish to visit:
www.ucc.org/nin and www.ucc.org/nin_stories )
One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). Two-thirds of this offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants.
Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to UCC churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. This year, special consideration will be given to projects focusing on serving our immigrant neighbors and communities.
Neighbors In Need has a well-documented history of assisting people to find their voices for justice, for themselves and their neighbors.
Our Scriptures for this coming Sunday include James 5: 13 – 20. When I started at the beginning of the chapter in order to see the context, I ran into verse 4: Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
This New Testament point, you should know, comes directly from the Law of Moses. Deuteronomy 24:14-15 states, You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns. You shall pay them their wages daily before sunset, because they are poor and their livelihood depends on them; otherwise they might cry to the LORD against you, and you would incur guilt.
So I knew this example of a Neighbors In Need project was the one I should share with you now:
Understanding their mission is to witness for justice, Memphis, Tennessee’s Workers Interfaith Network (WIN), is a humble, yet powerful group of people who assist workers to protect their rights as employees from exploitative employers. WIN has developed a reputation in Tennessee as the organization that can assist a worker to recover monies when they have suffered “wage theft” by an unjust employer. Unfortunately, wage theft is becoming a common act of withholding an employee’s wages by the employer. When employees face these economic hardships at the hands of their employers, it is their families that suffer this unimaginable injustice as their basic needs are no longer met. This forces some to further struggle to move out of hunger or poverty.
Support Neighbors In Need.
And remember what Jesus said: “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these trusting little ones, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.” - Mark 9:42