Racial Justice Lent Course Session 5, 23rd March

 

The Jericho Road – standing up for justice

 

Reflections for discussion:

 

Jericho Road – Revd Dr Martin Luther King Junior

 

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway.

 

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. Compassion sees that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.

 

Let us pray: Ever present God, you called us to be in relationship with one another and promised to dwell wherever two or three are gathered. In our community, we are many different people; we come from many different places, have many different cultures. Open our hearts that we may be bold in finding the riches of inclusion and the treasures of diversity among us. We pray in faith. Amen

 

Rt Revd Leroy V. Greenaway, Presiding Bishop, northeast region, The Church of God of Prophecy (summary)

 

History teaches us when law and justice are perverted, all hell breaks loose after a while.

The cry for justice, whether social, criminal, or economic must be heard and honoured!

May the God of justice help us even now in the midst of this dreadful Coronavirus pandemic and during this time of social unrest.

 

This church is called upon never to forget the Scriptural injunction which remains an integral part of the missionary mandate of the church in any age – “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

 

If ever a time the church is called upon to speak out, is today. In the spirit of Jesus, the Church of God denounces racism, sexism, classism, injustice, oppression, institutional racism, systemic oppression and injustices.

 

We come against and denounce evil in every form and manifestation. We solemnly take a stand to aggressively denounce racial hatred and to seriously act in favour of promoting the sanctity and dignity of every human life. That all are created equal is a very fundamental, authoritative, biblical truth that must not be only preached but lived out in ALL our daily transactions as the created people of God everywhere.

 

Our black church and white church and our brown church — all the churches of God must cry out for justice, until there is a just and equal system for all! As the redeemed people of God we stand up and speak out! Amen.

 

Starting points for discussion:

 

What has struck us from this course so far?

What has caused us to reflect?

Where might it point us?

What do we feel called to do?

How can we make a difference?

How do we stand for justice?
What would be ‘a true revolution of values’?

 

 

Music interlude: Show me how to stand for justice Show me how to stand for justice. Lyric Video (StF 713) - YouTube

Scripture for reflection and discussion:

Isaiah 58: 6-9 (NRSV)

Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of injustice,
    to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
    and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

 

Isaiah 61: 1-3 (NRSV)

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,

   to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.

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Looking forward from our Lent course….

 

Joy Unspeakable

We are not headed toward a single goal: we are on a pilgrimage toward the center of our hearts. It is in this place of prayerful repose that joy unspeakable erupts.

Joy Unspeakable
erupts when you least expect it,
when the burden is greatest,
when the hope is gone
after bullets fly.
It rises
on the crest of impossibility,
it sways to the rhythm
of steadfast hearts,
and celebrates
what we cannot see.

This joy beckons us not as individual monastics but as a community. It is a joy that lives as comfortably in the shout as it does in silence. It is expressed in the diversity of personal spiritual disciplines and liturgical rituals. This joy is our strength, and we need strength because we are well into the twenty-first century, and we are not healed. How shall we negotiate postmodernity without inner strength?

Barbara A. HolmesJoy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church, 2nd ed. (Fortress Press: 2017)

Music interlude: We Shall Go Out With Hope of Resurrection (Doxey & St Paul’s Virual Choir)

Closing prayer from the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

 

O Lord our God, in your mercy and kindness,

no thought of ours is left unnoticed, no desire or concern ignored.

You have proven that blessings abound when we fall on our knees in prayer,

and so we turn to you in our hour of need.

 

Surrounded by violence and cries for justice, we hear your voice telling us what is required,

“Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mi 6:8).

Fill us with your mercy so that we, in turn, may be merciful to others.

 

Strip away pride, suspicion, and racism so that we may seek peace and justice in our communities.

Strengthen our hearts so that they beat only to the rhythm of your holy will.

Flood our path with your light as we walk humbly toward a future filled with encounter and unity.

 

Be with us, O Lord, in our efforts, for only by the prompting of your grace can we progress toward virtue.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.