Jesus told his disciples to
spread the gospel. In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus first directed them
to go all over
As followers of Jesus, we are called to put that plan into action, here and now. You and I don’t need to wear whites and carry stethoscopes to do it, either. As faithful voters, we now can make a big difference in the lives of the 45 million Americans who have no health insurance, and the millions more who have inadequate or unaffordable coverage. Praying for the sick is very important. It binds us spiritually to those who suffer, and joins our souls with their process of recovery. But prayer isn’t enough. Citizen activism is needed for us to become Jesus’ agents of healing.
I have relatives who have no health insurance because of
unemployment or other circumstances. Their assets could be wiped out and
their credit destroyed if they had a catastrophic illness. In my work
with the homeless, I met hundreds of people who were de-motivated from
participating in the “above-ground” economy because they had no hope of ever
paying off their debts to hospitals and doctors. A percentage of what
little wages they earned would be garnished for the rest of their lives.
Poor people often avoid going to the doctor when they are ill, turning minor
health problems into major ones. Today I know people who remain on Social
Security disability status because it provides health insurance they couldn’t
replace if they returned to work when they were able.
The inhumanity, the
bureaucratic waste, and the extreme inefficiency of the current health care
delivery system in
There are moments when ideology
gives way to practicality, and this may be one of them. Changes in public
opinion, a shift in the winds of politics, have opened up the conversation
about universal medical insurance. In
Our letters to our legislators now can mirror the acts of healing that Jesus’ disciples performed in the first century. This is an important way we can answer his challenge to help make whole the bodies and souls of our brothers and sisters.