Dialogues, monologues, sketches, poems, rants, theological and liturgical bits and bobs and miscellaneous other verbal doodles...
Do it for the Children...
Normally when I’m doing a review of the week’s news on Downtown Radio's "Dawn Reflections" I’ll use a story that has been grabbing all the headlines or something suitably quirky. This week I focussed on neither… but rather a disturbing piece that I read earlier in the week.
It concerned child sacrifice in some areas of Uganda, and there is a suggestion that this problem has developed because of an unholy alliance between emerging capitalist prosperity there and unscrupulous supposed witch doctors willing to kill, mutilate or take blood from a child in order to bring others wealth and good health, by burying the resulting fetishes around the building sites of new developments. According to official police figures, there have been about 25-30 cases of child sacrifice per year recently, but local pastors suggest that the figures are actually in the hundreds, with more than 900 cases yet to be investigated by the police because of corruption and a lack of resources.
The stories I read were too disturbing for for me to discuss on radio early on a Sunday morning, or indeed at any time of any day… We need to pray for those working on this problem in that area, so that this cruel superstition might be stamped out...
However, let us not think that this is a problem that is caused by people in Uganda and only affects the people there.
This is a function of an unequal world where we in the prosperous white, western world are quite content to let children in Africa die of preventable diseases and malnutrition, whilst one of our biggest health problems is childhood obesity! This afternoon one facebook friend posted details of the One.org campaign to end famine, which reminds us that 30,000 people have died of famine in Africa because of the ongoing conflict there.
It is the function of a world where we think that children don’t count… where they should be seen but not heard… or if possible not seen either… In its least malignant form this involves people in church tutting and sshshing at mothers with toddlers… But at its worst it has resulted in entrusted to the church and state being physically, sexually and psychologically abused.
It is also the function of a world that is prepared to put future generations in debt to fund their education because we have been so profligate in our generation… where politicians are so pig headed about their constitutional differences that they can’t work together to sort out a coherent transfer system that doesn’t traumatise, stigmatise or inhibit any of our children at the age of 11.
At the height of our troubles, Paul Brady sang
“Up here we sacrifice our children, to feed the worn out dreams of yesterday.”
We are in a different place than when that song was sung, but we are still sacrificing our children. We may sacrifice them in different ways from Uganda, but it is still happening. We are still delivering significant numbers into the hands of paramilitaries, by failing to offer them an inspiring alternative... while others we are offering up as bondslaves to banks for the whole of their working lives…
Jesus said "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
It is a good job that the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them, because the kingdoms of the earth currently don’t… whether that be Africa or here…
So let us not simply pray, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven… let us work to make it a reality.
ps the illustration was taken from a twitpic posted by a friend of mine today.
Don't often post other people's stuff here... But I found this so powerful that I thought I should. It's a performance poem based on John 4: 4-30, and I have attached the original YouTube video below. A word for women, and men, everywhere... "to be known is to be loved, and to be loved is to be known."
I am a woman of no distinction of little importance. I am a women of no reputation save that which is bad.
You whisper as I pass by and cast judgmental glances, Though you don’t really take the time to look at me, Or even get to know me.
For to be known is to be loved, And to be loved is to be known. Otherwise what’s the point in doing either one of them in the first place?
I WANT TO BE KNOWN.
I want someone to look at my face And not just see two eyes, a nose, a mouth and two ears; But to see all that I am, and could be all my hopes, loves and fears.
But that’s too much to hope for, to wish for, or pray for So I don’t, not anymore.
Now I keep to myself And by that I mean the pain that ke…
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful... Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
John 15:1-8 (ANIV)
In the mid 19th century, while Ireland was laid waste by potato blight, imported from America, France was devastated by another American pest…
A short responsive psalm for us as a call to worship on Harvest Thanksgiving Sunday, and given that it was pouring with rain as I headed into church this morning the first line is an important remembrance that the rain we moan about is an important component of the fruitfulness of the land we live in:
You tend the land and water it And the earth produces its abundance.
You crown each year with your bounty, and our storehouses overflow with your goodness.
The mountain meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are filled with corn;
Your people celebrate your boundless grace They shout for joy and sing.