I have an affinity for raw stuff. I like The Clash, The White Stripes, bluegrass. I like un-Photoshopped pictures. I like simple food, plain talk, and dogs that are either all black or all white (weird? maybe). I have a tendency to forget makeup, wearing my raw face in all its glory. I like the Gospel to be unobscured by pop psychology or false promises of prosperity. One of my newest raw likes is The Welcome Wagon, which is not a new band but I don't really keep up with the times very well. I love their arrangement of "Hail to the Lord's Annointed", my personal nominee for the aughts' most underappreciated hymn. I love this hymn. I love the rousing tune, the promises of liberty, forgiveness, and victory drawn from the 72nd Psalm. Though it might smack of social justice to some...
He comes with succor speedy to those who suffer wrong;
to help the poor and needy, and bid the weak be strong...
...it's a good reminder that the divide between those who seek justice and those who preach the good news of Jesus Christ as Savior is needless; the latter should include the former, and the former is not possible without the latter. (See "Do We Believe the Whole Gospel?") That same verse goes on to sing
to give them songs for sighing, their darkness turn to light,
whose souls, condemned and dying, were precious in His sight.
"...the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them has light dawned."
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying,
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Souls condemned and dying? These are not the physically needy mentioned right there, but the spiritually needy, i.e. all of us. The bad news: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," and the good news: "and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:23-24). To backtrack and clarify, "the people dwelling in darkness" suffer in a spiritual darkness, a separation from God due to unrighteousness. But that is fixable: "This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." (Romans 3:22)
He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free,
to take away transgression, and rule in equity.
Breaking oppression and setting the captive free could be in regards to either institutions like slavery on earth or our bondage to sin. Rather, both. "To take away transgression"--that's definitely freedom from sin we're talking about there. "and rule in equity"--a just ruler? Is there such a thing?!
We in America are big fans of pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. There is nothing Biblical about this. In fact, as my husband and I were reminded by a challenging book we're reading, Jesus said this shocking thing to a commandment-keeping rich man who asked about entering the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus said to him, 'If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.'
The rich man left, dejected, unwilling to do that. Oh boy, I don't want to be like him. But I am. With God's help, I'm fighting it.
I was talking with my husband about his work and how men perceived as "weak" tend to be really looked down on and trodden upon (what? that sounds like your work too?). We talked about how he had trouble bonding with our little dog because he saw him as weak, because he was fearful and peed every time my husband went near him. We even like to pursue friendships with "strong" people. Today, thinking about this, I realized that I tend to set myself up above women that I think of as emotionally weak. Wrong, wrong, wrong. In James 2 it says "My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ..." and goes on to talk about gold rings versus shabby clothing and all that. Showing preference to rich people is a temptation that has only recently entered my life as I've gotten older and more drawn to material possessions. But showing preference for strong people has always been a thing for me. I like to pretend to be strong (some might say cynical and sarcastic). Regarding the weak, the poor in spirit, Jesus said "Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh."
The spiritually poor and the physically poor all need ministry. They need God's love to be expressed in tangible ways. So go check on a friend or give money to a charity. Sell your possessions, either way. And take heart:
The tide of time shall never His covenant remove;
His name shall stand forever,
His name to us is Love.