There has been a deep sadness in our country over this last week. The combination of ongoing xenophobic violence in Gauteng, together with reports of a number of awful crimes against women and children have seen people take to the streets to voice our despair and anger.
In the little Old Testament book of Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah describes the lowest point in the history of the people of Israel – the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. It is a bleak account and the prophet doesn’t hold back or look for silver linings on this dark cloud. And yet, halfway through the book, in the midst of Israel’s darkest hour as the prophet has listed their woes, come these incredible words of faith:
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam 3:21-23)
We too are invited to remember the God who is with us, and especially with those who have suffered at the hands of violent men. God’s mercies are new every morning; great is the faithfulness of God.
If we are to be a faithful people however, we will need to respond practically in a way that goes beyond expressing outrage or compassion on social media or around the braai. This week I have seen professionals offering their time to victims of abuse and crime. One student at a protest rally in Cape Town was even selling cookies to give the proceeds to the family of Uyinene Mrwetyana.
We have members of our own church who have been victims of domestic abuse and others who are vulnerable to xenophobic hatred. How can we practically live out the steadfast love of the Lord in these days? What does it mean this week to say ‘send me’?
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