Tuesday, 3 June 2014


Sometimes when you are a passionate person (me?  never....) you forget that there are other issues in the world that need attention.  For example, the fact that the dinner needs cooking or the toilet needs cleaning (again) but you are busy sobbing over a video about a child trapped in slavery.  Dinner and toilets can wait at that moment.

I know how these things work and I know that when I've spoken too much about something, people's eyes start to glaze over as they realise I'm going on about it yet again.  In fact, I feel the same when Toby witters about the camera he's saving up for or the latest tune he can play on his ukulele.  He never shuts up about it.  I 'umm' and 'ahh' in the right places and let him say his piece.

Last week, someone spoke these words to me: "There is more to God's kingdom than human trafficking." 

I know that. 

I know that there are many injustices in our world.  I know that war, genocide, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, poverty, bullying and other evil things happen.   They make me weep too.  Sometimes I can't get through a news programme dry-eyed.  I know that God's kingdom needs to come in every area of our lives.

But try saying those words to the father whose precious daughter has been taken and sold into prostitution twenty or more times each night so that she can pay back an imaginary debt which will never ever be paid. 

Would that father not go to every single possible length to free his daughter?  Would his life carry on as normal or would it be totally and utterly wrecked?  Would he feel as though his very heart had been ripped to shreds every night as he wonders just who is raping his beautiful daughter at that precise moment?

And although I am not that father, I feel the same.  I am ruined for anything other than making whatever difference I can to free these captives.  My whole body shakes with the injustice of it. 

And so, I'm sorry if I'm a bore, but this isn't a camera or a ukulele.  I can't be quiet and whilst I know there are other horrific, life-wrecking things out there too, this is the one which has gripped onto my heart and squeezed it until there are no tears left to cry.

And so I won't shut up.  Because this is the kingdom of God, and I'm allowed to shout about it:

"Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
    Raise your voice like a trumpet....
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?

 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter –
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: here am I.
‘If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
 and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.

 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings."
Isaiah 58

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