St Matthews Digital
12 November 2017
Wages are for Living
Susan Adams speaks about the importance of the Living Wage Movement
Rev Dr Susan Adams
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Wages are for Living
Today, marks the end of living wage week. If you heard of living wage, Whew, I could tell you a lot about living wage. I could tell you that there are now approaching 90 small businesses accredited as living wage employers that that is that they're committed to paying their staff. No less than $20, 20, an hour, and some Matthews in the city as one of them. And I could tell you, that just recently, the first corporate has been accredited Victor power And be a challenging other corporates in their words to do the right thing and play their employers. No less than a living wage. I could tell you that research here in New Zealand shows that the Tipping Point between living with dignity and paying your way, keeping your children out of the poverty cycle and being happy is about having an income of about forty thousand dollars a year, which happens to be Eat more or less than living wage and it's about 9,000 dollars more than the minimum wage.
I could tell you that there's a global push to encourage corporates and other employers to act responsibly and pay the living wage calculated for their context. I could tell you a lot more but instead I'm going to tell you a story from our recent visit to a place where it seems many locals still aspire to the good life of the vision. We heard this morning read from the book of Micah Micah prophesied sometime after 750, BCE, and before about 628, somewhere in there.
And Micah is sensitive to the social context of his day. That is by all accounts that has Day by.
All accounts was a relatively prosperous time but you won't be surprised. The wealth was concentrated in the hands of an elite and the rest struggling with the accompanying social injustice.
The hope-filled vision that we heard read speaks of everyone sitting under their own Vine and fig tree and idea to say surrounded by their own olive trees.
As I was mentioning, we've recently returned from Crete a place where this vision of the good life still operates where most of the food Necessities come from their own Farm. The farm people spoke about in the traditional village, where we stayed, might have been no more than smallholding. No bigger than the section that many of us would like to have to put our house and On Twitter might have been a number of Acres with vines and olive trees that they'd been caring for for over 500 years.
And of course, a flock of sheep goats as we called them because it's so hard to tell the difference between sheep and goats over there.
However, much land. You had it grew enough for your basic needs and some Tabata or simply give away.
Even as visitors, we were the recipients of this generosity many times over.
Some of the work on the farm is done by the landholder themselves and at other times, the work is done as a community effort such as the grape Harvest and the wine making.
And yet at other times, extra hands are employed. Like when it's time to harvest the millions of olive trees trees.
How is the work of producing the food and wine, has done both the work and the produce our shared sold Bartered or given away.
Our experience of this approach to the land and to living is one that clearly identifies Community as important.
In conversation people, we spoke to expressed satisfaction with being part of a community of people including extended family members and neighbors and those people would all help each other out. So no one was without work to do or without enough to live on through all the seasons of the Year, still to come.
Including having some left over to share with guests.
The economic security provided by their land and their family and Community having the Sun, and having the shared stories that shape who they are and how they live together, was both a source of Pride and the foundation for the sense of satisfaction with their lives that were spoken about by those who engaged Us in conversation.
I even said, where do you go on holiday and they said holiday, where would we go? It's gorgeous. It's beautiful. Here, we have all we need here. Where would we go?
I mentioned New Zealand was pretty gorgeous too.
But we have a story as well.
Read that shapes our living in our relationships, we have our Christian story and it begins away back wrapping in some of the same elements that shape my critic companions stories that include those Vines and fig trees stories about community and shared care about love and family and neighbor.
End about knowing, how to celebrate, what's good, and about how to care for the Earth.
Our Urban location puts us at some distance from this Land Based security Experience day by day. It makes it much more difficult for us to remember that what we need for living comes to us from the earth and from the families and friends and Neighbors.
The story we hear most often is one about what we deserve, not what we need, it's about the accumulation of surplus. Not generous sharing. It's a story contrary to the one of thankfulness for all the Earth provides and for families and neighbors and Friends.
At the heart of the living wage movement are a set of theological precepts. I think this is why worldwide churches have been key players if not instigators in the energy and activities of the movement.
It is the theology that motivates my involvement in the work of living wage movement, New Zealand, and why I believe since Matthews in the city should be actively engaged based on its own vision statement.
It is why I agreed to preach today as living wage weekends, for this year.
And I want to remind us all that a living wage is not some Lefty do good idea. Rather it is a key to our self-identity as the body of Christ, and it is something that can be done.
For me, those theological precepts lie at the heart of what it means to be a human Community Corps. To them, is the fundamental perspective that we are human beings together on Earth.
That together humans and all other sentient creatures, share the goodness of the earth and all that. It produces, we humans are required to be responsible caregivers. That's what our Christian story expects of us.
A Christian story also proclaims that we made in the image of God that we have the capacity to reflect God. So love compassion and a desire for each other. To flourish is in our very being in our DNA, as they say these days. Well, it's somewhere there.
But so too is our capacity to judge what is damaging, what is violent or greedy? What is a display of hubris suffer getting that we are creatures of the earth and ultimately not God's ourselves, or all powerful controllers and creators.
And we know what is a display of disregard for those who share this planet with us.
and we can judge quite well what is damaging to the well-being of our planet home itself and we can change change ourselves and change what is damaging to people and planet.
At the heart of all this is unknowing, our place, knowing who we are, knowing what we are in the bigger scheme of things.
I'll place is here. Our home is our children is Zealand, its Auckland. It's Mount Eden or Milford or whangaparaoa.
Our place wherever it is is sacred. It is here. We must begin to exercise, care and compassion and strive.
For just relationships of mutual regard. We are the human inhabitants of planet Earth and the consequences of how we treat our Earth home, as well as how we treat. Our neighbors will have reverberations through history. We must treat our sacred place with respect. We must treat Neighbors with respect.
we've shaped our Christian story around the goodness of a God who loves us and trusts us to care for one another and for the Earth that sustains us and we're all players and that story we have chosen as ours.
We all have equal place or should have according to our story because as the old poster used to say our God makes no rubbish and has no favorites.
To this end, we all have a mutual responsibility to care for each other. Beginning with our community with those who share our place with us.
And while we may not these days have our own Vines and fig trees and olive trees and sheep goats to provide us with security and a sense of place. What these things represent in the story of well-being and security we can have we can have a level of Economic Security that promotes confidence in who we are and where we are and we can have the community.
It encourages a sense of well-being and mutual compassion.
And in this Land of Plenty, we can all have enough if we choose enough instead of a superfluity. And if we act with generosity because we believe there is enough instead of hoarding because somewhere deep inside, we believe there is a scarcity.
We can all have a living wage and adequate income to live with dignity, providing the necessities of life for our children and enabling us to participate in our communities.
What it requires for these things to come to pass is for us, all to decide people matter.
All people matter.
The story We Tell to each other will include the expectation that workers earn enough to live on.
We need to tell and Proclaim that expectation to each other. And to anyone else we have a chance to speak to It is within our capacities to provide a living wage and adequate income for all who share the city and the nation with us.
Together, we are Community together. We are the people of God. We need each other in order to live well and to flourish.
and it's for these reasons that I support the living wage movement and I encourage you to do so, too, and for some Matthews to be an active part of that movement, I'm in.