In the Old Testament, a trio of people are often cited as deserving special protections from God and God’s people … The fatherless, the widow, the orphan. Often, the foreigner is added to this list.
God knew these people were at risk in the society of the Old Testament … at risk to be marginalized, neglected, oppressed, victimized, even killed.
And so God commanded his people to take special care of these particular people in their midst. He gave special commandments, even made special rules that protected them, gave them chances to enter mainstream society again, helped them escape the noose of generational poverty, protected them from oppression and violence.
And these rules spoke to God’s people and said, “I care for this group of people in a special way, and if you follow me, you must care for them, too!”
Who are the marginalized among us today?
Might they not fit into this same descriptive trio (or quartet)? The fatherless, the widow, the orphan, the foreigner.
It matters not your political persuasion, if you are a follower of God, you are to live in such a way that you protect the marginalized, speak up for them, watch out for them, care for them, serve them, give to them, pray for them.
Often, when confronted with the marginalized in our midst, we hope for someone else to help them.
Annie Dillard addresses this common deferral of responsibility:
“There is no one but us. There is no one to send, not a clean hand or a pure heart on the face of the earth or in the earth --- only us … unfit, not yet ready, having each of us chosen wrongly, made a false start, yielded to impulse and the tangled comfort of pleasures, and grown exhausted, unable to seek the thread, weak, and uninvolved. But there is no one but us. There has never been.”
There is no one but us.