This study focuses on eight passages about land, belonging, and creation in the Bible. In the biblical story, land and people are intimately related, their destinies intertwined. At the root of the Hebrew Bible’s critique of economic injustice is the misuse of the land and its people. This study is designed to start conversation about justice for land and people together.
This study draws on six passages that reflect the major themes of the book, particularly in relationship to economic issues and exile. People on the street and living on the edge are often “economic refugees”—that is, they are displaced due to economic realities. The three sections of Isaiah speak strongly to economic injustice, to the experience of exile, and to the sense of shame that often accompanies living on the edge.
This study is designed as a Lenten study, followed by Holy Week liturgies. In Matthew, we follow two themes—that of exile and displacement, and that of trauma. The book was written in the shadow of the collective trauma of the destruction of Jerusalem. From the holy family fleeing to Egypt to Jesus’ ministry as a wandering rabbi, this study reflects on Jesus’ solidarity with displaced people. Matthew also reflects the experiences of trauma, portraying Jesus as a nearly murdered child, a man who mourns the death of John, and a man arrested and murdered by the legal system of his day.
Much of my methodology is rooted in the practices of Latin American Christian Base Communities. A small community in the 60s and 70s in Nicaragua compiled their discussion of the gospels in one of only available examples of Bible studies in CBCs. They ask questions about liberation and the political and social implications of the gospel. A shortened version of Ernesto Cardenal’s books is found in The Gospel in Art by the Peasants of Solentiname, edited by Philip and Sally Sharper. This study is a short guide to reading this book. It seeks to promote a discussion about the current realities in the U.S. in poor communities and the realities faced by Nicaraguan peasants in Solentiname.