Connecting Beyond Borders

I live in the desert. The high beautiful rugged Chihuahuan desert covering north central Mexico and the southwestern United States. My city lies on the shores of the Rio Grande river, or the Rio Bravo, depending which side you are on, a river meandering over 3,000 kilometers from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico. As the river passes through our region, the sister cities of El Paso and Ciudad Júarez, it abruptly becomes the dividing line between the United States and Mexico, and remains the dividing line for the rest of its journey, snaking another 2,000 kilometers to the south and east.

The river, a source of sustenance and beauty and rest and life in the desert, has been transformed into a wall of division. A wall defining specific boundaries and separating those who are in from those who are out and those who are out from those who are in. Until about 60 years ago the river would still meander when it flooded, changing its pathway, as if to defy efforts to control the line. Yet in more recent years it has become increasingly channelized and fortified.

Like so many places in the world, our region has been affected by waves of colonization. First the Spaniards swept through in the late 1500’s, subjugating the many native tribes in the area. Then it became part of the newly formed nation of Mexico after independence from Spain. The United States wrested control of the area from Mexico in 1848 as part of its effort to expand westward in order to span from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. It is not uncommon to hear someone in these parts say “I didn’t cross the border. The border crossed me.” What once was connected is now divided. And the dividing wall keeps being built higher in an effort to emphasize this division.

And yet the twin cities of El Paso in the United States and Ciudad Júarez in Mexico are so intricately intertwined. There is a shared heritage, a mix of culture, of language, of music, of food, of commerce, of humor. Family members live on both sides of the border, sometimes crossing daily for work or for school, or to visit their grandparents and shop. Many children in my neighborhood spend their weekends on the other side of town, which happens to be in another country. We are so interconnected. And yet there is a wall dividing us, and the contrasts are stark.

The El Paso-Juarez metropolis represents a microcosm of so many of the issues facing our world today, and the issues facing so many of us as members of Micah Global. A world increasingly divided between those who have so much and those who have very little. A world where political, military, economic, and often religious interests combine to move forward in ways that make sense for the powerful, but have dire consequences for the vulnerable. How do we respond to larger issues of power, injustice, religiously-sanctioned oppression, stark income inequality, nationalism, racial tensions, historical trauma, current trauma, and, in some instances, the marriage of Christianity and empire?

In our context, we struggle daily with what it means to live and walk in the way of Jesus in the midst of these forces. How do we act justly? How do we love mercy? How do we walk humbly with our God? How do we speak truth and bring to light that which is hidden? How do we love our neighbors? How do we embody a wholistic, integrated Gospel?

Many questions remain, and yet, along with the global family of Micah, we know that inspired ways forward emerge as we fall to our knees, develop friendships, listen deeply to our neighbors, draw close to the margins, elevate voices of the hurting, cry out in agony with those who suffer, leverage what we have, and open up opportunities for learning and encounters. And somewhere along the journey we regain a sense of our interconnectedness despite the barriers separating us.

Sami DiPasquale Micah Global Board Member, Executive Director of Abara El Paso, Texas, USA

Our Missional Calling

Do you remember a time when you felt God calling you to a specific type of work or ministry? I do! It happened about 20 years ago and, whilst that calling has expanded and developed over time, it has not fundamentally changed. At the start of 2021, I feel it would be good for all of us, as individuals and organisations, to revisit the calling that we feel we are pursuing into the new year. And with this in mind, I would like to share some thoughts on calling. When thinking about calling as a Christian, I like to think in terms of missional calling, that is, the calling on all Christians to be active participants in God’s holistic mission.  Chris Wright, in his books The Mission of God (2006) and The Mission of God’s People (2010) helps us to understand our missional calling in three ways.

Firstly, missional calling is about being called to be the people of God. In the Old Testament, this call was given to Israel, for them to be set apart from the other nations, witnessing to the nature of God, in a loving, worship-full relationship and living according to God’s commands. In the New Testament, where there is “neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28), the call to be the people of God is given to the Church, the ekklesia, the called out or summoned ones:

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10).

The people of God are those who have experienced God’s grace and are “called to live in response to that grace, with lives that represent God to the world and that show the difference between the holinessof the living God, seen especially in the face of Jesus Christ, and the degraded ugliness and impotence of the false gods that surround us” (Wright, 2010:127).

Secondly, missional calling is a calling to ethical living by walking in the way of the Lord. God told Abraham that he and his descendants should “keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice” (Gen 18:19) and this theme, of an ethical and compassionate calling given to the people of God, is a major theme in the Old Testament and continues centrally in the New Testament in the ministry and teachings of Jesus and the writings of the apostles. It is the way of compassion, righteousness and justice arising from God’s love for the world and refers to both the imitation of God (seeking to be holy as he is holy) and following him as guide and example, obeying instructions given by him. The way of the Lord that we follow is worked out in relationship between God and God’s people, worked out in the direct experiences of life. Walking in the way of the Lord is the active following of Christ. It is about seeking to live out of an ethic of a kingdom which has a king. It is a call to obediently follow the God who is at once King and Father.

Thirdly, missional calling is a calling to be a blessing to all people. Chris Wright suggests that Christian calling is well expressed by the word blessing. He describes blessing as a “richly life-affirming word” (2010: 68) present throughout the Bible. Being the people of God and walking in his ways, so that God’s mission of extending his blessing to all people takes place, summarises the missional calling on all Christians. Indeed, as Wright observes, the very motivation for God’s people to live by God’s law is to bless the nations, thus, making mission and ethics inseparable.

Within this threefold understanding of our general missional calling, we also often receive a specific calling that fits with who God created each one of us to be, and the contexts and places in which we find ourselves to be living. I pray for each one of you that as you take time individually and organisationally to consider both the general and specific calling you have received, that you will again hear the Lord saying, with great love and excitement, “Come! Follow me!”

Deborah Hancox International Coordinator, Micah Global

How do you read it?

How do you read it?

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus.
“Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
(Luke 10: 25-26)

As a rabbi, Jesus answered the law expert's question with another one. In fact, with two other questions. The first was easy to answer. The expert knew what was written in the Law and quoted the text perfectly. The second one was more demanding. It touched the way he understood it. And it is this question that I invite you to think about. How have we been reading the Scriptures?

Some time ago I heard a Brazilian Christian leader, whom I greatly admire, answering the question: ‘What is the problem with Brazilian evangelical Christians?” The question had been asked in response to the clear division and antagonistic positions of evangelicals and evangelical leaders in the public environment, among other issues. He was straightforward: "The Bible". It took me a few minutes to understand his response in depth. And I understood it by remembering that conversation between Jesus and the expert in the law.

The way we read the Bible reveals deep roots, as well as life conceptions of the human being, of God, of ourselves. Therefore, not all of us read the same Bible, although it is the same book. And differences in our reading comprehension is not really the problem. The point is that we can read it in an antagonistic and irreconcilable way. There are poor readings that lead to poor spirituality!

Martin Luther King Jr. did not read the same Bible as the Ku Klux Klan. He also diverged in his reading from most evangelicals in the southern United States, in particular. Dietrich Bonhoeffer did not read the same Bible as the German church did. The German churches that were silent in the face of the Nazi horrors read the ‘same’ bible in a completely different way to the young theologian. Differences in reading and posture continue everywhere! What Bible have we read? Would our Lord read it as we do?

Returning to the dialogue between Jesus and the expert in the Law, we find ourselves facing the same current problem or challenge - the meaning we give to what we read and the implications that we admit for our lives when reading the bible. It was written, but how should it be lived? Challenged by the duty to love God and our fellow human, the expert in the Law was unsure about who this person should be. Interestingly, he had no doubts about the part about loving God with all his heart, soul, strength and understanding.

Sometimes I have the feeling that, like him, we have become experts in God. We know all about divinity. We know what God likes and dislikes, what God admits and what God doesn't, who has a chance with God and who doesn't. But, also as that expert in the Law, we are ignorant about others. We don't know who they are. We don't see it as our responsibility. We are quick to judge and slow to have mercy. And not every kind of fellow human is acceptable or a candidate for our love. Somehow, our love has some criteria that means some people have to deny themselves in order to meet it. We forget that this criterion belongs to Christ and not to his followers.

All of this leads me to consider whether two thousand years after Jesus and the Law expert talked, we understand the Gospel that Jesus lived out. We build temples, create liturgies, establish religions, write doctrines, systematise God. We organise movements, create networks, launch projects and write statements, as well. Still, instead of being stronger and more united, we are weaker and more divided. And we even antagonise ourselves! Jesus' second question is very relevant to us. The answer that emerges requires reflection, prayer and conversations. How have we been reading the Bible? With what eyes, heart and mind? With what perspectives, assumptions and prejudices? Our attitudes towards others reveal our reading. What we know about people is perhaps more important than what we claim to know about God as we read the Bible.

I don't think we can know God well if we don't know our fellow human. And a true knowledge of God will lead us to know our ‘neighbor’ better. Our neighbor is so important in our relationship with God that, in the perspective presented by Jesus in Matthew 25, the only one that shall serve God is the one who serves their neighbors.

You may not have read the entire Bible even once, from beginning to end. Consider reading more! You may have read it dozens of times, from beginning to end and even have a medal or certificate of honor for your laudable discipline. Keep reading! But let us not fail to evaluate ourselves as to our postures and attitudes towards life and people. The book of Acts calls our faith "The Way". The writer of the letter to the Hebrews says that Jesus inaugurated a new and living way for us. If we are 'on the Way', we know that sometimes it is smooth, simple and flat. Yet, sometimes hard, complex and rough. It requires faith and courage. Courage to see, hear and understand. Courage to admit, repent and correct our errors. It requires learning to abandon the wrong paths, discover new ones, because grace is alive in its manifestation in history. It is the aroma of new wine that always calls for new wineskins. Our faith is a path of disciples and not of adherents.

What's written? How do we read? May we, assisted by the Holy Spirit, be able to read our Bibles in such a way that the Kingdom of God is manifested and that we are, each one of us, living signs of God's presence.

Usiel Souza Pastor/ Micah Global Board Member/ Brazil


Our Anchor, Our Hope

By Sheryl Haw

Our anchor, strength and hope is in the wonderful truth revealed throughout Scripture and through the life of Christ; that affirms what we believe: we believe that there is one living God, who is the creator, owner and maintainer of the whole universe. Our God is accessible and personal; He is trustworthy and good (in him there is no darkness at all); He is loving and compassionate, merciful and just (not wanting one life to be lost – 2 Peter 3:9); He is all powerful and is sovereign over all the earth.

The question that will arise in many people’s hearts and minds is if that is true why has God allowed this virus outbreak? If he is all loving, all powerful, is against all evil and suffering, and can thus act to stop this crisis, why are we where we are at now?

The first thing we learn from Biblical examples of facing such suffering is that the question, the lament, the protest before God, is first and foremost not to ask why but to ask how long?, and to pursue God persistently for his intervention.

Chris Wright in his book, The God I don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith, has some helpful thoughts on this and we highly recommend this book.

The why question is a tough one. We are always looking for a cause and effect rationale.

I remember the dilemma I experienced when working in South Sudan some years ago. A young teenage boy presented at the clinic with classic signs of Type 1 diabetes. We had the knowledge to treat him, but we had no access to an ongoing supply of insulin. He lived in a war zone, in poverty and oppression. I had a list of why questions. Why would the warring factions persist in their fighting? Why could we in other countries have access to great medical care and this young boy could not? Why could some people buy multiple houses and cars and this boy be destitute? It is not that people were not aware of poverty, war and oppression – information was constantly available. So why didn’t the world act? Who was to blame? Was it inequality and the selfishness of humanity? Was it the unjust colonial powers? Was it the rebel fighters? If someone said to me it was the boy who sinned – I would’ve been so angry as he was the one person in the setting that was not to blame for his poverty and illness! Of course, we could blame God. Why didn’t He save the boy? And then I reflected on in what way should He have saved the boy? Should He have reconciled the warring factions as a peace maker? Should He have pressured the rich to share their wealth and enable the country to flourish? Should He have sent the medical experts to have a hospital for the boy? What did we want God to do? Or had He not already done all of this?

Had Jesus not died on the cross to break the power of death? Had he not accepted to carry all our pain and sorrows? Had he not called a people out to be an example to the new humanity he has inaugurated, to be peace makers, reconcilers, to be healers and builders? Had he not sent us to this very boy to love, to serve and to care for him? Of course, the answer was, and is, yes, yes, yes.

So, though there is undeniably a mystery of evil (the death and loss this virus is bringing), exacerbated by the selfish, sinful actions and inactions amongst us all that increase the impact of such a virus (for example, the selfish hoarding and stock piling of items, the non-sensical violence and stigma against people of Chinese origin), I know with absolute certainty that God has acted, is acting and will act on our behalf to respond to this crisis and every other. And, he has called out a people, the Body of Christ, to be demonstrators of his love and care at such a time as this.

Jesus, thank you for all you have done, are doing and will do. Here we are – send us to live it out amongst every community today.

#LiveHope #Coronavirus #LoveYourNeighbour

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Resilience and the Expanding Kingdom

It has been a slam-bang beginning. This early, we have seen the ravages of wounded nature fighting back. Bushfires raging without letup in the wild outback of Australia. Taal volcano erupting, spewing a black plume of cloud-like ash falling on miles and miles of towns and cities. The novel corona virus killing hundreds in Wuhan and spreading silently and quickly its deadly menace across the globe. 

All these, plus the never-ending wrongs inflicted by corrupt governments in rogue states and the dying of democracy in this country (Philippines) — the oldest republic in Asia — and elsewhere.

In times like this it is easy to bury our heads in the sand and make what some call ‘a separate peace.’ In the face of despotic governance, many take to the high seas like our sea-faring ancestors who fled from the rule of the fabled Madjapahit empire. We do not revolt; we just migrate to other climes.

Church people see in all these signs of the ‘end times.’ Some see no reason for re-arranging social reality; it is a dying world, it is said, let us just evangelise and save as many as we can from this sinking ship.

This line of thinking misunderstands the nature of our good news. The gospel is not just about securing a ticket to heaven. It is about making this earth a bit more like heaven.

When Jesus sent out the twelve disciples, he told them to bring this message to the lost sheep of Israel: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ The longed-for restoration of the Davidic kingdom, the best in their memory of what a good government is like, has come in the person of the Messiah Jesus.

The good news is that a new social order is coming into being, this time backed up by supernatural signs and wonders: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” (Matthew 10.7-8) With the coming of Jesus, the powers of heaven have descended. A new reign of justice and righteousness has begun.  

This new order inaugurated by Jesus is here now, though in many ways hidden. It becomes visible when the people of God behave like true people of the Kingdom – fighting injustice, treating with kindness and compassion those in the margins, and walking with God in such a way that we ourselves are transformed. (Micah 6.8)

At the end of the day, the story that God is weaving through the travails of our time is our own re-making as a grand ‘poem’ – a ‘workmanship,’ created and crafted by the Lord Jesus for the good work he has prepared for us beforehand. (Ephesians 2.10)

This ‘good work’ is not just the bits and pieces we do as good disciples in our lives and professions, but no less than the making of “a new heaven and a new earth.” We have been saved, not just to sit around and wait for the rapture or some such thing, but to storm the gates of hell in this sad earth. The church is not just a hospital for the walking wounded, but an army, tasked with reclaiming, inch-by-inch, territory already won by Jesus on the cross. We are to be at the center of the fray, battling against principalities and powers that are entrenched in our systems and institutions. For this reason we need to be spiritually resilient, strengthened by the Spirit and wielding the Word as a mighty sword that pierces through all sorts of fake news.

The end of this story, we are told, is that we shall be like a spotless Bride coming down from heaven, inhabiting a new Jerusalem set in a new earth that we shall inherit.  (Rev.21.1-7)

The Bible tells us that we are not really going anywhere, but here. In Jesus, heaven has come down, and the kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdom of our God. (Rev.11.15)

Melba Padilla Maggay
President, Micah Global 

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Protest and lament

by Sheryl Haw

It was a hot Sunday afternoon in Somalia, good for siesta after a busy week of work at the clinic. We had some sick children in our care, but all seemed on the mend. A tap on my door by one of the Somali nurses led me back to hospital. He had asked me to check on a 2-year-old patient who we were planning to discharge. To my horror on arrival I found the child had died. The mother was weeping, everyone was shocked at this unexpected loss. I was angry – confused and then determined. I took myself into another room and started to wrestle with God. I protested, lamented, grieved, ranted, debated and then decided this simply could not be God’s plan. Decision taken, I sought the rest of the team and explained that I felt we should pray for the child to be raised from the dead! The team looked on, wide eyed! They agreed to stand with me.

We set the scene as best we could “according to the Bible”! Placed everyone out of the room bar the mother and the translator. We explained we wanted to pray for the child and asked if they would give permission. They agreed. Before I could start, one of the team began a prayer which went like this “God, we would like you to restore this child, but if it is not your will please keep her safe with you”. This prayer frustrated me – why give God an out clause!? So, I jumped in and prayed “In the Name of Jesus rise up”. I had my eyes open as I did not want to miss the first breath. I repeated – but no breath came.

We all started to weep, not just for the child and the family’s loss, but now we also wept for ourselves and our faith in God. What followed were some of the most profound conversations we ever had as a team. One member shouted at me as he challenged me as to why I would test God. He then broke down and wept because his brother had died of leukemia and he had also prayed for healing and none had come. Some exploded in anger at the injustice and evil death represented. Others questioned whether we had sufficient faith, others lamented the helplessness we all felt.

Then we had a knock on the door – the translator came to see us. He was deeply moved that we had cared so much as foreigners for this little Somali girl. He was amazed that we had demonstrated love to her family through prayer and comfort and tears of solidarity. We sat in stunned silence. Is that what they had seen?

Of course, we could argue the theology and practice around our approach to deciding to pray – yes, we had a lot to learn. But what I had not anticipated was the witness we gave of love, through lament and protest, through solidarity of grief and the presence we gave to stand in the gap for this child and family.

I have seen God heal miraculously. I have held people as they died. I have not understood why some are healed and some are not. Why some die and some live? The Bible is full of protests, lament, anger, grief and questions. The struggle with God over this is based on the tension of knowing that God is a good, compassionate, just God and a giver of life. The Cross was His demonstrate of his desire to see redemption, healing, restoration, liberation and reconciliation for all. Therefore, we protest when we see pain, suffering, injustice and death.

The Cross is also our hope. It is at the Cross we see the ultimate assurance of God’s love. It is the Cross that carries the pain, the lament, the protest, for it exposes the worst of evil and reveals the breadth of grace, mercy and love. Knowing full well every terrible thing, every painful reality, every agonising thing we face or go through, Jesus set his face towards Jerusalem. He would remove the sting of death, wipe away every tear and set things right. It is done!

And so until he returns, we protest – “How long O Lord” – we lament and grieve – “Lord, the pain is great“.

God receives our cries, he weeps with us, he carries our pain and he reveals his plan. Behold God will make all things new: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:4).


God’s Footprint in the Mess

By Christine MacMillan, World Evangelical Alliance

John 4:9 “The woman was surprised for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a Woman of Samaria?”

As I Chair the World Evangelical Task Force on Human Trafficking, I find myself asking the question: what is human about trafficking?  And then it resonates – for trafficking is very much human. It conscripts humans regardless of race, lifestyle, age and gender.  It is full of surprises when its victims and those becoming aware of its horror unravel personal stories when given the opportunity.  Jesus was not afraid to find his footsteps on messy ground. He risks his reputation by engaging with a woman from Samaria perceived known for her questionable relationship history.  He was interested in her story only silenced by living on the margins.

The nature of relationships covers a vast realm of considerations. You are reaching out in one moment and then becoming aware of your vulnerability in the next. Is Jesus at risk? Is the woman at risk? Human trafficking goes beyond statistics of victims. It goes beyond a headline that reads: “Children sold like cabbages”. As cabbages once devoured are finished. Victims of human trafficking viewed as profitable commodities can be devoured again and again and their story is never ending.

Captivity is rarely under question by users.  And yet, a surprise question from Jesus: “Can you give me a drink”?  Interest from Jesus starts from a point of what another can give.   

The scene of Jesus and the woman is inching closer with respect.  Not the usual judgment call or pointed finger.  It causes a woman from Samaria to ask why someone different from her would ask her for a drink.

Integral mission is not limited to one sided giving.  It has the integrity to see value from both sides. When the question in Micah is posed: “What does the Lord require of you?”, can we be asking that of ourselves and the “other” at the same time.  Our giving is reciprocated when we leave ourselves open to receive from unexpected sources. 

The nature of organizational relationships can often be tempted to be on the lookout for its own unlimited resources. If resources are limited, we sense our mission is under threat. We become concerned about our own survival and do everything under our control to attract resources to our particular ministry only. We brand our cups of water as success stories of our own accomplishments.

Coming back to the question what is human about trafficking poses a deep search. Trafficking victims are relegated to a one -sided giving of themselves that holds little surprises in their endless activities of being used. The water they drink is polluted. They are trafficked in streams of dead water.

Resources found in the practice of integral mission are purified gifts that respect with integrity our need to both give and receive.  In the midst of pollution Jesus loves to tread in the mess of contamination. He stops to hear our story with the intention there is more for us to give.  We who are in the Micah movement are learning to adopt listening patterns of mutuality on what the Lord requires. It is then there is enough water to go around.         


Rene Padilla address

Address given by C. Rene Padilla at the Review of the Micah Declaration on Integral Mission in June 2011.

The Church and Mission.

The questions we want to address here are: How did Jesus exercise his role as servant, and how will the Church continue fulfilling the same role in the world today? A brief study of Matthew 9:35-38 will help us reflect on the mission of Jesus as the Suffering Servant of the Lord, the mission that the Church is called to prolong in her life and ministry.


Peace and Reconciliation

A terzanelle related to peace and reconciliation (Micah 5:5; Matthew 5:9; Ephesians 2:13-18)

By Salvatore Anthony Luiso

Christ died to make reconciliation

He is the great peacemaker in God’s plan

He is the head of a holy nation.

To bring about peace between God and man,

The Son of God died as a sacrifice

He is the great peacemaker in God’s plan.

Yet God paid for more with that precious price

For peace among men Christ suffered that cost

The Son of God died as a sacrifice.

To repossess peace when it has been lost,

One must seek after, must pursue, that peace

For peace among men Christ suffered that cost.

One may need to strive hard to make strife cease

Christ Himself strove for the peace that He sought

One must seek after, must pursue, that peace.

Praise be to God for the peace He has wrought

Christ died to make reconciliation,

Christ Himself strove for the peace that He sought

He is the head of a holy nation.


Going Upstream

Written for Micah Global’s Prayer Ignite …

Brazilian Catholic Archbishop, Hélder Pessoa Câmara, is noted for saying, “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.

I have found this to be true. We can be seen as generous, kind and charitable when providing relief assistance in crisis work. But, if we speak about justice and how systems may oppress and keep people poor, it can be met with anger, defensiveness and sometimes even vitriol. I have heard people say, “Don’t bring politics into this.” Or, “Let us stick to the biblical issues.” The truth is … these are biblical issues – from start to finish of the Bible.

Followers of Jesus are called throughout scripture to love and serve those suffering with mercy and kindness. This is unquestionable. But too often the church stops there. We are also called to break down structures and systems that oppress – which is harder work and much less popular. It reminds me of the well-used story told in development circles of the village who kept rescuing babies out the river and finally someone asked, “Why don’t we go up the river and ask why they keep falling into the water in the first place?”

Isaiah 58 shows me that we are called to both – to the rescue and relief, which will always be there because we live in a fallen world, and the transformation of cultures, systems and structures that cause suffering, disenfranchisement and oppression ‘upstream’. Isaiah speaks to us of loosing the chains of injustice, untying the cords of the yoke to set the oppressed free, sharing food with the hungry, sheltering the wanderer, clothing for the naked, and to not to turn away from our fellow humans. This speaks to me of the wholeness of true transformation for which we work and pray. Providing relief for suffering people and working to change the systems ‘upstream’ that keep people vulnerable.

The hard work of bringing systemic change that literally unties the yoke of oppression takes time, commitment and courage; it may not feel as good or be as quickly obvious as the speed with which charitable relief take place, and yet it is our mandate as the Church to lead by example and show a different way.

True shalom, the peace for which we pray and work and trust, requires humility, lament and commitment to justice. Let us pray during this month that God will show us more of his heart for just systems and institutions, and that we will listen and hear the cries of those being oppressed and persecuted and exploited. Let us read the bible with people who we do not normally read it with to expand our view of scripture and God’s heart. Let us stand on the side of the marginalised and oppressed, whether we are those impacted by an injustice or not. Let us continue to swim upstream against the current of popular culture and the accepted systems so that we can show another way. Let us commit to do the hard work of going further up the river to see what systems need to be renewed, replaced and redeemed. Let us pray that God gives us new imagination and dreams for more of God’s kingdom come on earth.

Let us pray …

Linda Martindale
Micah Global