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Weekly worship: Sunday 25 November

A voice for women: points for sermons and prayers for Sunday 25 November.

A woman sits on a staircase hiding her face

2 Samuel 23:1-7 

Njoki Chege authored an article in the Daily Nation newspaper of Kenya with the title, ‘Society that kills its women is rotten and dying’.

This was after the gruesome murder of four young women within the month of September, with the latest happening only within that week of writing the article.

Published on 29 September 2017, Njoki said:

‘I think it is time for us to have a sober conversation about the kind of society we have become.

‘It is time we ask ourselves if we want to be the society that kills women and children or a society that protects its women, the life givers and the nucleus of society.

‘In the Kenyan society, women have become an endangered species. We cannot walk home alone without the fear of being raped or murdered.’

She is very right in enunciating the place and role of the woman in society – the life givers and the nucleus of society. This place and role cannot be underplayed. And she rightly headlines this role by causing us to think what a society becomes when it callously drains itself of its nucleus – a society that is rotten and dying.

In 2 Samuel 13 we have a portion of scripture that we seldom refer to. It is the gory story of a brother Amnon raping his sister Tamar, and in the king's palace for that matter. And it was not just any king, but in the palace of David, the king who God refers to as ‘a man after my own heart’. It depicts the fact that this violence knows neither royalty or poverty – it is a state of mankind that needs to be confronted and challenged.

But unfortunately, there is too much silence about the incidents of violence against women in the Bible so that we rarely venture to speak about it and hence against it. We have a discomfort with it. And just like the royal family dealt with it by sending her away from the palace to hide the royal shame, so often it seems we turn away from speaking about these issues sometimes so that we hide our social or spiritual shame. And yet this is only but one of the many ways in which violence is unleashed against women all over the world.

This makes the 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which kicks off today, that much more significant. Somebody needs to amplify the voices of the many vulnerable people affected by gender-based violence especially poor women and girls.

This is what Christian Aid seeks to do through movements like Side by Side which bring together leaders from all faiths to reflect on their role in protecting the rights of women who are, or can be, victims of gender-based violence.

This week’s pointers have been provided by Bob Kikuyu, Christian Aid’s senior theology advisor and church partnerships co-ordinator.

Prayer

Merciful God,
develop in us a concern for the vulnerable girls and women of the world.
May our actions be a reflection of caring,
that safely they may dwell amongst us. Amen. 

Points for prayer

Pray with all those who have been subjected to gender-based violence and pray for a world that is free from such violence.  

Pray with those living in the occupied Palestinian territory this week as we mark the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People on 29 November. 

Pray with Amina. She has been involved with the ‘protection group’ in Raboud – one of five supported by the YMCA across the West Bank. Give thanks for our partner YMCA and pray for the groups as they meet to discuss issues within the community and how they can work together to address them.

Prayer points taken from the prayer diary which you can read in full here.