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Scripture Reading:

Matthew 2:13-18 (NRSV)


13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ 14Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’

16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. 17Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
 

18 ‘A voice was heard in Ramah,
   wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
   she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.’


From the Sermon:

Things We Don't Want to Know


Read the full sermon ( ‌‌‌‌ PDF )

Psalm 82:4 tells me to:
“Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

And Proverbs 31:8-9 tells me:
“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. 
Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and the needy.”

Oh, and this scripture from Ezekiel 34:16, because,
listen to what it wants more to do to the captors: 

I will seek the lost, I will bring back the strayed, I will bind up the injured,
I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.”

Isaiah 58:6-7 asks:
"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”

And Matthew 25:40:
"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of
the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

Do you know what all these scriptures are telling me?  They are telling me to stay woke. 

Like Joseph, like those Wise Men, like the prophets who went before them and the apostles afterwards, now that I’ve seen it, I can’t turn away.  I can’t un-see or un-know.  

It’s my Christian commission to keep my eyes open to evil, and to find ways to fight it, no matter how small I am or how insignificant I judge my own acts to be.


it’s going to take a mighty force of Spirit, and a mighty force of humanity, to turn this evil around. It’s going to take churches taking stands and corporations and big business making changes and consumers making choices and governments making policies—and ours has, in the TVPA—the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and it’s going to take years of struggle and slow progress.  But I want to be part of that progress, don’t you? 

Stay woke, friends. It’s our calling as Christians. Stay woke, and do all the good you can.

Amen and Amen.

The United Methodist Position:

from The Book of Resolutions


We deplore all forms of commercialization and exploitation of sex, with their consequent cheapening and degradation of human personality. To lose freedom and be sold by someone else for sexual purposes is a form of slavery, and we denounce such business and support the abused and their right to freedom. (¶161H Sexual Abuse)


The church has a difficult and awesome responsibility, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to seek justice and Christ’s healing in the face of structures of oppression; and such structures of oppression are well-embedded in the institution of sex trafficking, 

Therefore, The United Methodist Church, through education, financial resources, publication, lobbying, and the use of every relevant gift of God, shall join in the active battle against the modern-day enslavement of humans for commercial sexual exploitation, i.e., sex trafficking.

ADOPTED 2004
revised and readopted 2008
Resolution #6023, 2008 Book of Resolutions
Resolution #285, 2004 Book of Resolutions
See Social Principles, ¶ 165.


What We Can Do:

1. Pray.
 

2. Know our impact.

Human trafficking is a global issue, but the things we do at home can reduce our footprint. Want to know more?


What's your footprint?
 

 

3. Look for fair-trade items when we consume.

Fair trade items are certified as being grown, picked, and processed in ways that give a fair wage and ensure humane labor conditions to the workers.

Not sure if you're choosing fair trade?
Look for one of these logos on your purchases:

https://www.fairtradecertified.org/
http://www.fairtradeamerica.org/


4. Speak up.

  • Write a senator, governor, or other official or agency.
  • Find ways to advocate and educate in your local community.
  • Report possible trafficking to the human trafficking hotline.
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