"Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable." Proverbs 31:8
At thirtyone:eight we're privileged to support a community of member organisations who are inspired by God's call to 'speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable' as described in Proverbs 31:8. This verse, which sums up so many of the themes found within the Christian faith, urges us to speak up for the rights of all who are vulnerable and this has an inescapably political aspect to it.
The abuse of power by individuals, institutions and by corporations is at the root of social evil. If we are concerned about the welfare of the most vulnerable people in society, this means more than simply responding, as best we can to the immediate needs that are facing us. It means calling for change and using whatever influence we have to make things better for vulnerable people.
We've seen this at work though our recent parliamentary engagement. Over the last year year we've helped set up the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Safeguarding in Faith Settings (APPG) for which we provide the Secretariat, and have been granted Core Participant status within the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) investigation into Child Protection in Religious Organisations and Settings. Within both these settings, we've seen a desire by people to use their power and influence to create cultures that protect rather than do harm, to establish policies that tackle issues of injustice within our society. This gives us hope.
The election, gives us all such an opportunity to speak out.
There are some that have despaired over recent months of the ineffectiveness of government. 'Will my vote really make a difference?' On the 12th December we can use our voice to tell those that govern us and anyone who will listen, that what matters to us is not just Brexit, or the state of the economy, or the living standards of the wealthy.
What matters is the way that we, as a society, treat the most vulnerable, the love that we show to the loveless and the welcome we offer to the stranger. This is how we measure social righteousness; this is our equivalent of the plumb-line that Ezekiel, that strange and frightening Old Testament prophet, held up against the crooked walls of the corrupt city.
‘My Kingdom’ said Jesus, ‘is not of this world,’ and yet, paradoxically, he also said to his disciples ’the Kingdom is within you.’ The Kingdom of God cannot be fully identified with any human society or state because it confronts every earthly Kingdom with its standards and challenges every society, however enlightened, with its values. Values that have only ever been fully incarnated in Jesus Himself, the Suffering, Servant King. Our call and our mission is not a party political one, it is a call to work together, in solidarity with the lost, the oppressed and the overlooked, to create a better world where, as the prophet Isaiah said, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”