the town (not) left behind part 2 - security

A recent article about Hartlepool being a town left behind provoked a lot of emotion for Hartlepudlians that read it. I was one of them, I felt angry at the unfairness of cuts in comparison to other parts of the country.

After thinking about it for a few weeks, here are some of the things that the gospel (the good news about who Jesus is and what he's done) has to say to the situation:

Inequality - the North/South divide

Fear - the need for security

The article describes the fear that people have about affording rent and eviction. This fear is a natural response to the need that we all have for security. Money, jobs and houses are all under threat. I don’t want to minimise the fears of people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from or where they’ll be sleeping tomorrow night, but the security that bricks and cash promise us is just an illusion. Even if I have a house owned outright and a steady job, I am not secure. Even if I feel secure, I am not secure. My “security” could come crashing down in a second and so could yours. Jesus tells a parable about someone in that situation:

16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God.”
Luke 12:16-21

Ultimate security is found in Jesus. When my security doesn’t depend on me but on his great love and mercy and power, then I can start to find freedom from the fear that the article describes. We do need food and shelter and work, and we should help others in need of those things. But whether we’re in Hartlepool or the Home Counties, we will always fear about our security until we receive the gift of Jesus Christ

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32

picture by Doctor Chas