Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When the Saints

Several folks are absent from social media today to call attention to 27 million women, men and children caught in modern day slavery.  The End it Movement helps us understand the where of slavery:  "In brothels.  In factories.  In quarries.  Working as slaves.  In 161 countries.  Including our own."  Because modern day slavery feels far away the weight of it can be difficult to grasp.  It is not actually so far away though.  It is here.  It is there.  It's everywhere.  

One of my favorite Christian recording artists is Sara Groves.  Her lyrics express great hope in Christ while also shining a light on injustice.  This balance is needed.  Sometimes Christians speak of injustice without remembering the hope of Christ.  Sometimes Christians speak of the hope of Christ but forget the plight of others.  Sara Groves' songs are raw and real, but in the end the hope of Christ prevails.  Her lyrics and music are needed. 

The first Sara Groves song I heard was "When the Saints." She sings of Paul and Silas, Jesus, Mother Teresa, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot and young girls huddled on brothel floors.  I knew of prostitution, but I naively imagined brothels as a thing of the past--something only in Les Miserables and other novels.  This is not the case.  When I saw Sara in concert a few years ago she gave testimony of young women rescued from brothels by the International Justice Mission.  All I could do was weep.

We began singing "When the Saints" at Memorial Baptist.  It is amazing the bugs God puts in our ears through the songs we sing.  Yikes.  It is easier not knowing about such horrors; yet hiding from injustice doesn't make it disappear.

Since this language was part of worship I spoke to our teenagers about it.  It was difficult talking with them about such atrocities.  You wonder if you're exposing them to too much too soon.  Such things are a matter of prayer and discernment. 

After our discussions we attended a conference where IJM set up a mock brothel based on the brothels they had seen with their own eyes.  There were menus to make ordering and buying people easier.  The only word I can think to describe the experience is harrowing. 

27 million people are caught in modern day slavery.  Join me in praying for these beloved children of God.

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