The Simple Acts
Today Esther reminds us through the story of Exodus that God wants to "use us and our simple acts to bring about the liberation of a generation."
"Let’s be ready to live differently, where our two feet are at.
Let’s open our hearts once again, to being ‘just’ where we are."
In 2005 Barack Obama gave an address at the funeral of a 92 year old woman from Detroit. He said this:
The woman we honoured today held no public office, she wasn’t a wealthy woman, didn’t appear in the society pages. And yet when the history of this country is written, it is this small, quiet woman whose name will be remembered long after the names of senators and presidents have been forgotten.
Can you guess who this was about?
These amazing words were spoken at the funeral of Rosa Parks, a remarkable woman, who, 50 years earlier, had altered the course of American history. Through one single act of courage and civil disobedience, she was the catalyst of a movement that led to the liberation of a generation. How?
By refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus.
You may know the story; she was arrested, which, in turn, triggered a 381 day boycott of the bus system in the United States of America. This boycott was led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Junior. We certainly know his name.
Former president Bill Clinton described Rosa’s actions as “a single, simple act of dignity and courage.”
Whether or not this act sparked the whole Civil Rights movement, this simple act interrupted a whole system of oppression.
It was a simple act that changed that challenged the injustice that had reigned for generations.
It was a simple act that gave inspiration to thousands upon thousands.
And although history books are written in honour of those who stand on the world’s stage, often we forget those who got them there in the first place: those who choose the simple acts of justice.
This Lent, we're looking at the injustice of modern slavery in partnership with the International Justice Mission, and what God has to say about justice to us today. We are going to dig into the Exodus narrative, which at first glance, may seem like a familiar story; one that we might have learnt at Sunday School.
Remember the Prince of Egypt film? We see how Moses meets God at the burning bush, and the pivotal passage where God commissions this unlikely character to release a whole nation from slavery.
To set His people set free.
However, how often do we take the time to read around these famous narratives, the stories that we know well? Moses is undoubtedly an amazing figure - he foreshadows what Jesus comes to do once and for all: to set the captive free - but he is one part in a long line of people who choose justice. Who choose to be ‘just where they are.’
I wonder, if we look again at the Exodus story, what God has to say about the people behind the titles?
Those who don’t have their own chapter of the history book? Those who don’t have films made about their lives. Those who go about their day to day lives, choosing to live justly. The woman on the bus, who was ‘just’ where she was.
You may know the Exodus story, but this Lent, let’s look again.
Let’s pray that God would use us and our simple acts to bring about the liberation of a generation.
Let’s be ready to live differently, where our two feet are at.
Let’s open our hearts once again, to being ‘just’ where we are.
IJM UK is a global organization, who find and rescue victims of modern slavery. They work to see justice systems repaired and the global poor protected. Since 2007, they have rescued and restored over 40,000 victims of slavery. Check out www.ijmuk.org to get involved!
Esther studied at Durham University, before spending some time in teaching, and most recently working for the International Justice Mission. She is married to Tom and lives in the North East.