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Wednesday Wondering - February 7, 2024

Scripture

Proverbs 31: 8 – 9

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”


Ephesians 4: 15

“But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,”


Reflection

I have been thinking a lot, and I mean a lot, these last few weeks about silence, because I think that there has been a lot of silence in the world. We hear the idea that silence is golden. Quite often we make the decision that it is better for us to remain silent then for us to speak and bring about conflict. We see the world and sometimes I wonder if we think that our words don’t matter, that they won’t make a difference. So, we don’t speak, we remain silent in the face of all that is happening in the world. And there has been a whole lot happening in our world lately. I think that the challenge for many of us is trying to make the decision about what we speak about and what we don’t speak about. It is true, I completely agree, that there are times in this world when it is better to remain silent than to wade into the foray of what is happening. On the other hand I know that there are times when we, as Christians, should be speaking up, our voices need to be heard. Dr. Martin Luther King said it so well:


“There comes a time when silence is betrayal. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends…

For evil to succeed, all it needs is for good men to do nothing.”


I think that for many of us what we have seen in this last little while has surprised us. It is something that we never expected because we in the words of a former instructor at my theological college, Rev. Dr. Linda Yates, “I think what I miss most is the Canadian smugness that wrapped me in a false sense of it-could-never-happen-hereness.” Yet it is happening here, we have experienced something that many of us never expected and many of us don’t know how to respond. Yet, I do believe that we are called to respond.


We are called, as followers of Christ, to respond to injustice in our world. We respond when we see the most vulnerable in our world being discounted as if they don’t matter. We need to respond in word and actions against those who would speak words that are not true to further their own agenda. If we don’t speak, if we remain silent, does that just embolden those whose voices are being heard? The scripture from Proverbs reminds us that we have a responsibility to speak words of justice in the midst of injustice. We need to speak the words of inclusion in the midst of those who are working to divide, and as Ephesians reminds us we are called to speak those worlds in love. Speaking up does not mean that we have to enter into the arguments, the disagreements, the anger. Speaking up, using our voice in love, means that we challenge those who would overlook the most vulnerable to further their own desires. Speaking up means that we use our voices to say that there is, and must be, another way. Speaking up means that we challenge the hatred and division, that we, in love, disagree.


There are  many in my own life, ministry colleagues in particular, who challenge my engaging with some people on social media. These individuals ask, ‘why bother?’ They state that is it not worth it to engage with those who are sewing injustice, discontent, marginalization, in the world, because it won’t make a difference or change their mind. I have wondering a lot about whether they are correct or whether I need to continue to speak up. Whose voices are the only voiced being heard if we don’t speak? Is the truth being heard if we choose to remain silent? When we read the scriptures we see that God is always with the marginalized, those that the world has overlooked, forgotten, the poor (this understanding is the basis of Liberation Theology). We are also called to be with those whom others have discarded, forgotten, ignored, so that they might push their own agendas and it to this that we are challenged to speak. It is not easy, but it is who we say that we are and so it is what we are called to do, today and tomorrow.

American author Rick Herrick was quoted as saying, “In our common lives, we all have situations that challenge the depths of our moral courage…..there is a moral breeze that blows through our conscience prompting us to act on behalf of love, goodness, and justice.” We, as Christians, are challenged to speak up against the injustice, violence, war, hatred, and continued marginalization of so many in this world. We are challenged to be people of faith, but also people of moral courage, who speak truth to power even when it is difficult.


Prayer

God of the silence and God of the thunder, we ask that you give us the wisdom to discern when we are called to use our voices and when we are called to sit in silence. We ask for courage to speak words of truth in this world where so many are being left behind, where so many seem to not matter in the face of personal desires and wants. Help our voices, when we speak, resonate with your love, even when what we have to say is challenging to those who would listen. Help us to be conduits for your justice in this world, where true justice seems to be difficult to find. We ask all this in the name of the one who came speaking truth to those who only cared about themselves, your son, Jesus. Amen.

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