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A Voice for the Voiceless

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31; 8-9

One of the many wonderful things happening over this season of Lent at St Andrew’s is the Soup Lunch. Open for all each Thursday lunchtime, anyone can turn up and enjoy the hospitality of the church and share a delicious meal together – and like in our warm room, all are welcome. And not just welcome to share food, but also to share conversation, a safe space to talk, to tell stories, and be listened to.

Jesus did lots of radical things during his ministry, and that included talking and listening to those whom his culture and society deemed unworthy or even dangerous to spend time with. There are many examples of Jesus dining with tax collectors like Zacchaeus, taking a drink of water from a Samaritan woman, and even spending time with little children, to the consternation of his disciples. Jesus spoke to not just his own people, but to all, including those on the margins of society, who did not have a voice of their own to speak up for themselves in normal circumstances. Many were labelled too poor, too sinful, too young or just unclean – people who were not worth associating with, people who did not deserve a voice.

Yet Jesus lived this facet of social justice summed up in Proverbs 31 – speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. He spoke to the rich and the powerful and reminded them that the society that they belonged to and the law they adhered to asked them to speak for and defend the poor, the needy and the destitute all around them, the aliens and strangers in their midst, widows, orphans, children, and sinners. All without voice, crying out for help and for hope to a God who loved them all as his beloved children.

Our world is often loud, with voices calling out from all sources of media demanding our attention and expressing their wants and desires. So often the smaller, quieter, more marginalised voices become drowned out and forgotten, their opinions dismissed, and decisions taken without any concern for their desperate needs.

This Lent, in the midst of the cacophony of sound surrounding us, can we challenge ourselves to listen a little deeper, and a little closer, to seek out the voices of our society’s voiceless, and be ready to talk to them, to listen, and to speak out. Let us make neighbours of all, and love as Jesus did – with presence, with patience, and ears open to hear and recognise the image of God in all the people we meet each day.

For more of those helping other to be heard in our community:

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