Footprints daily reflection: 21 March
Pharisees and Others.
Author: Dionne Gravesande
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable.’
Luke’s Gospel is filled with stories and narratives about God’s values and our responses. Interpreting this parable is anything but straightforward, even simplistic terms. It’s all too easy to judge the Pharisee to be a self-righteous hypocrite, but before we judge him too quickly, we might reframe his prayer slightly and wonder if we have uttered the same line ourselves. Maybe we haven't said, "Lord, I thank you that I am not like other people", but what about, on seeing someone who is different to us, looks different and lives differently? Is it possible to declare a love for God but deny others?
Today is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Those most affected advocate the message that to dismantle racism we should resist the temptation to start with the problems of people of colour but start with the flaws rooted in historic inequalities and longstanding cultural stereotypes. It is from this standing point we set up the terms for discussing race issues and can reshape our perceptions and response to racial justice. For a moment, imagine yourself in another’s shoes, acknowledging the injustice and suffering, do you find yourself whispering ‘there but for the grace of God go I’?
Those most affected cannot alone be responsible for the cultural and moral framework needed for change to happen. We all need to work together to ensure justice prevails, whether we are seeking racial justice, economic justice, gender justice or the pressing issue of climate justice. The struggle for a just world, in which the dignity of every person matters means we will have to fight if the powerless are to be liberated into strength. However, we will not achieve this unless we have a mature relationship with power and those who are excluded from power. That is why for Lent this year, Christian Aid is journeying with a farming community in Kenya. Join us on the journey here.
God of Life, we come to you in repentance for the evils and abuses of the past and ask forgiveness for the destruction of communities and cultures and environments.
Enable us to reach through our apathy and fear to feed your people wherever they are. Give us courage to speak out.
Grant us wisdom to use our resources to your will and to your glory.
Give us the spirit of Jesus.
Dionne Gravesande comes from the Pentecostal tradition, she is Christian Aid’s lead on global ecumenical relations having previously led the Church Advocacy Team and Churches and Young People’s Team.