Freedom from Fear and Violence: Methodists against Gender Based Violence – Social Holiness and GBV
Readings: Genesis 38: 1-30, Matthew 5: 13-16, Psalm 67
Why is there so much litter the world throughout? Because the number of people who litter are more than the number of people who clean up and the litterers litter more than the cleaners can clean. Why is their so much pollution in the world? Because the number of people and industries polluting the world pollute it at a rate that is more than the natural cleaners are able to handle. Not only do we pollute the world but we remove the world’s ability to heal itself. We emit all kinds of things into the atmosphere and then we remove the trees that clean the air in order to make space for more things that will pollute the air. We dirty the rivers and we interfere with the natural filtering process of the rivers in order to make life a little more comfortable for us. All that we have done in making things easier for us is to ensure that we enjoy this new freedom from labour with reduced lung capacities and gut health and with an increase in the number of diseases we face. We have created a system in which everyone loses instead of everyone wins.
I think that the systems we create with regards to relationships and care have always reflected a similar tendency. Our systems ensure that power is in the hands of some and their actions do not benefit the whole because we are imperfect beings trying to ensure that we and those we know are comfortable. This has to come at the expense of others. Some are exalted and others are denigrated. Some are comfortable and others are not. Some are protected by a system that hurts others. We have created a system where there is no equality and that inequality may swing from one side to the other as the seats of power change, but always the system empowers some while it disempowers others.
This cannot be what life is about. A world where one tribe or nation or clan is able to convince another tribe or nation or clan that they are less is a world that is broken. A world in which one race or gender or age or religion can convince another race or gender or age or religion that they deserve the hurt is a world that is broken. A world in which the different classes become the means of classification in terms of personal worth and value is a world that is broken.
Christ came to fix the brokenness. Christ came to save us from our biggest enemy and that I believe is ourselves. Death is a consequence of our sin and Christ’s defeating death and sin is Christ’s giving us back the gift of life. Christ came to change the system that we have created. Christ came to usher in a new era, an era in which the Kingdom of God, Eden, is the norm; but we have chosen to follow our rebellious nature and selfish hearts rather than the way of Christ. We have chosen to create god in our own image and that god is always going to be on our side. God is always going to love us, but that does not mean He is always going to be on our side because God cannot agree with our systems. God created everyone equally and with value and worth and I think that God’s heart breaks at the way we continue to keep our systems in place; those systems that elevate some and denigrate others. God is Holy and has created us all in His own image and our holiness is to be found in the way we live within the boundaries of His Kingdom; in the way that we regard the value of every person.