Saturday, February 16, 2013

Joining those who are stripped of their power.

Luk 4:1-13  Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread."  Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone.'"   Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, "To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours." Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'" Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

This has been a week that has dis-empowered women: this was the week in which Reeva Steenkamp, was shot four times on the morning of Valentine's Day; a week in which a policeman in Koster (North West) shot and wounded his wife before killing himself; this was the week that we mourned the gang-rape and murder of Aneen Booysen,

Jesus came to our world to speak about power.

But this is not the power one has when dependent poor people flock to you to be fed from your largesse; it is not the aura of a powerful political ruler when all bow before you; and it is not that of a worker of powerful magic that attracts gullible crowds. This is not the power that comes from getting on top of other people; and this is never the power that comes from “making a name for myself”. Instead this is the power that prompts us to sit alongside the weak, and the hungry, and suffering – and give them courage for life. This is the power to have compassion for the little people, and the forgotten people, and those who are abused and raped.

This was the week that we began Lent: a time when we mark ourselves with ashes to show our solidarity with those who sit in ashes. It is a week when we voluntarily take on a symbol of suffering through fasting. This was also the week where women asked us to show solidarity with those who are raped and abused through a campaign called ‘Thursdays in Black – Towards a world without rape and violence’.

It is time for us all to invoke the power of God to join the victims in their grief;  to assist victims to get back on their feet; and to work for a society that takes power away from bullies, and violent men, and all who seek to crush the life out of the weak. I will join the Thursdays in Black campaign as my commitment for Lent. And I will commitment my time, effort and power to protecting the weak and the powerless.

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