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The God that sees

Give tax dodgers no where to hide

Exodus 3:1-15      Matthew 16:21-28

Have you ever been in a position where you’ve thought, ‘If I’d only known…then I could have done something’ or ‘I wish I’d seen that sooner’?  So often these thoughts can weigh on us, as we ponder what we could have done or said in the face of an injustice or tragedy.

And how much greater is that weight when we do know and notice, but so often neglect to act in love, whether out of apathy or fear of discomfort. This is where we are radically different to God, to whom nothing is hidden. And who when seeing the misery of his people acts in perfect justice and love without fault.

We see this in Exodus 3 - where God sees the misery of his people, hears their cries and is ‘concerned about their suffering’ so he calls Moses to rescue them. Moses, responded in doubt asking: ‘Who am I that I should go?’ God reassures him saying, ‘I will be with you’. Often our response can be to ignore suffering, or give excuses for our lack of action. But the story of Moses shows us that God saw the injustice and acted in love, using people on earth.

Human fear caused Moses to doubt, but the promise that God would be with him allowed him to face Pharaoh, one of the most feared men of the day. As we are confronted with injustice in our world, many things will tempt us not to act - the fear of losing status, financial securities, comfort or time. But we must remember the promise that God is with us, to draw strength from this to face and overcome these fears.

When our supporters contact Ulster Bank to ask for a ‘big shift’ in investment away from fossil fuels, they go with the promise that God goes with them. And by the bravery of speaking out they too may lead communities to freedom - to a world free from climate chaos.

And with prophetic poignancy Jesus asks a question of our lives that we echo in our questions to the banks: ‘What will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life?’ Banks chase profit and economic growth at what cost to our souls and to the planet? What is of true worth?

We ask these questions of our banks because we have seen the misery of those living in countries experiencing the devastating effects of climate change.

Countries like Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, India, Nepal where the intensity of seasonal rains destroys harvests, livelihoods, homes and lives.

Our courage instilled in us by the promise that God gave Moses. We do not go alone and with that promise strengthening us, we refuse to be silent.


 

Loving God,
Forgive us for our wilful and consistent lack of action in the face of suffering,
choosing to lavish our own lives, rather than help save someone else’s.
We thank you that in Jesus, you have provided for our greatest need,
giving us an inheritance far beyond the riches found in this earth.
Help us to re-orientate our lives, in the direction and example of your son,
who was sacrificial to the point of death.
Would you be near to the oppressed.
Would they know your grace to face their reality and your love to bear their pain.
Would your kingdom on earth come soon.
Would we have an increased awareness of what this will be.
Would that hasten our efforts to be part of your plan of justice and peace.
Your will be done.
Amen.

 

Points for prayer

  • Give thanks for Christian Aid partner CBCA in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thank God for the staff team, who provide support for those enduring suffering from conflict, like Sifa, who trained to become a psychosocial assistant in Goma. She explains how she was moved to train and help those suffering: ‘I saw the miserable situation of the women here and said I have to work with this. I feel scared to live here sometimes.’

  • Pray for the Power Walk and Survival Challenge at the UK’s largest windfarm, Whitelee, on 9 and 10 September.

  • Pray that all the walkers among the majestic turbines will reflect on how climate change affects global communities, and pray they will be generously sponsored by family and friends.

  • Pray for the Survival Challenge to help youth groups explore some of the realities that refugees face.

 


 

Seeing God, may all those who feel
forgotten and overlooked
have a fresh awareness of your
presence in their suffering.
Amen.

 

This reflection was provided by Sophie Boyd, a theology student at Union Theological College, Belfast.


 

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