Common Good, The

By The Rev. A. Wayne Schwab

[RCL 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a, Luke 4:14-21; January 23, 2009.]

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you.”  No part of the body is inferior.

No one person is inferior.

The sad truth is that we do that kind of thing.

I am thinking of the reports that many are opposed to the health care plan because they fear they may lose their own care.

Fear is powerful.  It gets you to do wrong things.

49 million have no health care.  That is one in six of us.

Would anyone block health for another for fear they might lose something of their own?

Facts need to enter here.  The fact is people who are covered will not lose their coverage.

The extra cost will come from taxes of those making more than what $200,000 per year.

That’s not me.

But the facts first. [From NPR radio – as accurately as I can recall it.]  Phone interviews went to people opposed.  When called they were asked to give a percent of how much they were for the bills already passed.  The responses were around 35-40 % opposed.  When asked next of what they actually knew about the bills, they admitted they not know much them.  They were told parts of it.  They went up to feeling for it 65% – some as high as 75.

There’s been a lot of misleading advertising out there.  When people get the facts – the truth – opposition goes away.

Still there’s a deeper issue.  It’s not a feeling – fear.  It’s a moral issue.

Jim Wallis says need to rediscover values – on Wall street, Main Street, and your Street.  I’m part of the moral problem too.

We let these three ideas take hold.

Greed is good.  It’s all about me.  I want it now.

Greed.  Selfishness – me first.  Instant satisfaction.

I suspect these are what make us cautious about health care.

We’ve lost the common good as a basic value.  That’s a great value – the common good.  Do what is good for the most – not for the few, for me.

Get back to the common good.  In 1776, a group in PA signed a paper risking their lives.  They pledged as follows:

“…we mutually pledge to each other our Lives,
our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

We mutually pledge to each other – that’s a pledge to the common good.

That’s every part of the body valued – no one is inferior – no one is to left out – especially 49 million.

I have to work with myself  – I have my own ways of avoiding the common good.  Each of us has his or her own way of forgetting the common good.

The body is humanity – on one human is less needed than any other.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

Let’s deal with our weaknesses now.  We cannot deny health to someone because we fear we might lose something of our own.  Whether we will really lose anything may be due to advertising.

The call of Jesus is to be one body.  If any member suffers, all suffer.

Jesus said:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Let that be true of us as a nation.  And let us who follow Jesus take the lead – talk it up – join others who want all to rejoice together.

Bring the good news that all will be provided for – we are committed to the common good – every part of the body of humanity is good – one part cannot say to another, “I have no need of you; I have no need of your health.”

Let us hold life in common – let us bring good news to the poor; let the oppressed go free – let those oppressed with fear of illness go about their lives free of fear of getting sick.

Proclaim this the year of the Lord’s favor – let all of us rejoice together.

[The Rev. A. Wayne Schwab; Coordinator of Member Mission Network, Inc., President of Member Mission Press, Chair of the Spiritual Formation Committee for the United Church of Hinesburg, VT, Author, Speaker and Workshop Leader.]