Reading 

Mark 12:30-31 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your life, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’ 

Reflection 

Love is a verb, or as my English teacher used to say, it is a “doing” word. It is not limited to an attitude or a feeling. It entails action (1 Cor 13:4-7). The greatest commandment, according to Jesus is to love God with every aspect of our lives, and love those whom God loves, namely, the world, or in other terms, our local and global neighbours. But what does it mean to love neighbour who is so far away from us? Why should we care about other people? And what does love have to do with consumption?  

The reason we must love our neighbours is that Jesus instructed us to. That should be enough reason, but here is another reason: The inherent dignity of human life. Three passages in Genesis 1:26-28, Psalm 8:3-5 and 139:13-14 articulate this vision. Rather than locating our inherent dignity in any capacity or property of a human being, these passages indicate that humanity’s dignity is located in relationship to God who ascribes and declares humanity’s worth because He created them. That is why we are to love our neighbours, because God loves them and has created them for communion with himself, with his creatures and with his creation. Jesus calls us to love people indiscriminately in a way that is consistent with his own care and concern for them.  Love is the consistent commitment to act for the well-being and benefit of others.  

How does this relate to consumption? Very closely in fact. To love our neighbours and reflect on our consumption is to think how our purchases are affecting other people. For example, do we dig deep and ask the hard questions about where our stuff comes from? The people in supply chains are often vulnerable and unable to speak up for themselves. For example, we could ask ourselves; does the brand who produced my merchandise or clothing know where it was made? Does the brand actively work to stop gender discrimination in their supply chain? Are the workers paid a fair wage and do they work in sustainable and healthy environments? Concerning clothing and fashion many answers to these questions can be found in the Ethical Fashion Guide, or, of course, by doing some digging of your own. The guide has been carefully put together to give you solid facts on which brands can show they are doing their bit to look after the people in their supply and the planet, and which brands can’t demonstrate this. Loving our neighbours means caring about how our actions might affect people, even if they live in a different country and feel quite distant. By doing research on the fashion and merchandise we buy, and how they look after people, we can use our purchasing power in a manner that shows love for our global neighbours.  

Prayer 

God help us to demonstrate our love for our neighbours by using our purchasing power responsibly. Give us wisdom and insight as we reflect on supply chains and various products that we consume so that we can put our faith into action. Give us grace and strength to make this a habit in our purchasing practices.  

Questions 

How does my purchasing power demonstrate love for my neighbour?  

What practices and habits can you form that will help you to reflect on this? 


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