Thought: Outcomes do not necessarily end the journey.
‘Understanding oppression should lead to strategies for action. These strategies are not answers but the beginning of the journey toward solutions. Often, it is only when we take the first steps toward a solution that the larger strategy emerges.’
Just Imagine: The World for God (Campbell Roberts and Danielle Strickland)
In Authentic Holiness John Wesley wrote to William Wilberforce – the theologian to the activist:
‘I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villainy [slavery], which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? O be not weary of well doing! Go on, in the name of God and the power of his might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it.’
If God be for us… ? Then our inner life, the work of Christ in us will be evident in the way we outwardly and actively engage with God in the world. Our work with the poor and marginalised, earth-stewardship, making a response to global injustice, living as a holy people within community, will reflect the God we love and serve.
'Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’ (2 Corinthians 3:12-18 NIV).
‘Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold’ (2 Corinthians 3:12).
Lord, our world needs your people to be activists – people who are not afraid to see what needs to be changed and to be a part of that change. Help us to hold on to the hope that is found in you and to be bold in facing the challenges of our world, our community and our family. There is much injustice, but that is a label defined by human suffering. Help us to see the faces of the people who suffer and know that we are part of a response. Help us to be bold.
‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom’ (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Heavenly Father, having your Spirit in me to give freedom is an overwhelming idea! Freedom from… ? Freedom to be… ? Freedom to do… ? Often my life seems to be lived with constraints and I do not always perceive your freedom. Lord, please show me how to be free and what to be free from.
There are many in this world whose freedom is in the hands of others. They live with the real limitations of bondage imposed upon them. Where systems need to change, may we use our freedom to challenge unjust laws or practice. Where your people, the Church, live with the constraints of false teaching, abuse of power and the conflict between peoples of faith, may your freedom come to individuals and groups with releasing power and may your Kingdom come.
‘And we… are being transformed into his image’ (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Transformed into your likeness Lord, please complete the work begun in me. The journey is moment by moment and your reaffirming work continues in me. Thank you for the forgiveness, grace and mercy on which I stand secure and lead me to awareness, obedience and growth as I become like you. What you do in me Lord is happening to your children around me – I would be sensitive, loving and engaged in community in a way that is worthy of you and acknowledges that we, your children, are all ‘becoming’.
May some sweetness, some strength, some response to human struggle in me be a challenge, a confidence builder, an encouragement to those with whom I live in community. Lord, I would reflect you honestly and beautifully without warp or pixilation of poor material or reception.
‘Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart’ (2 Corinthians 4:1).
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