Lamentations 5, 8 – 13
Because of the length of the readings, we are only publishing the NRSV version. To read the King James Version, please click here
Something to read
Slaves rule over us;
there is no one to deliver us from their hand.
We get our bread at the peril of our lives,
because of the sword in the wilderness.
Our skin is black as an oven
from the scorching heat of famine.
Women are raped in Zion,
virgins in the towns of Judah.
Princes are hung up by their hands;
no respect is shown to the elders.
Young men are compelled to grind,
and boys stagger under loads of wood.
Something to think about
The people of Judah knew all about slavery. It was part of their identity as a nation, and one they remembered every year during Passover. They now find themselves under cruel Babylonian power and once again treated as slaves.
Today, slavery is considered to be a criminal activity in all countries and is outlawed by UN conventions. However, it is estimated there could be as many as 27 million people in slavery today, many of whom are children.
Those in slavery have no rights, will be controlled against their will and will be forced to work for little or no reward to benefit those who have power over them.
Slavery can sometimes be deeply embedded within culture. Christian Aid partner, SKA (Safai Karmachari Andolan) was started in 1999 by a group of human rights activists from Andhra Pradesh, India, with the objective of liberating Dalits from the inhumane occupation of manually cleaning out latrines.
‘Once people realise that it's slavery, they want to stop. The problem is that it's never discussed publicly.’ said Wilson, founder of SKA. Read more about the work of SKA here.
Something to do
Stop for one moment, right now, and simply thank God for your freedom.
Something to pray
Lord, help me to know and follow your will.
Help me to bring slaves to freedom, and to end the oppressive institution of slavery wherever it exists in this your world.
Where slavery is supported by greed, let there be healing with generosity and contentment.
Where slavery is supported by poverty, let there be enough food, enough medical care and clean water, enough of all necessities.
Where slavery is supported by war, let there be peace.
Where slavery is supported by indifference, let there be caring.
Help me to make a difference in the world.
Help us all to bring about the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
Today’s contributor is David Muir, Christian Aid’s Senior Regional Co-ordinator for its London and South East region