“The kind of fasting I want is this: remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free”.
Isa 58: 6 GNB
In the earlier decades of the nineteenth century a movement developed in the British parliament. A small group of very sincere Anglican MPs who became known as “The Clapham Sect” got together and discussed the slave trade. British ships were sailing to West Africa, collecting shiploads of African people (who had been forcibly captured by other African people), sailing across the Atlantic, and selling these people as slaves in the West Indies and the southern states of America, as well as various countries of South America. The Clapham Sect could see this was totally unacceptable to people with a Christian conscience. They worked hard for years and eventually pushed through parliament a bill abolishing the slave trade. It was an amazing achievement as the trade had been lucrative for British ship owners. The abolition bill was a triumph for Christian compassion. It was the Christian faith translated into practical compassion and justice. Other Christian leaders campaigned for many other aspects of social justice later in nineteenth century Britain.
Make sure your Christian faith is aligned with your political and social practices. God does not want you to be a pious Christian worshipper on Sunday – let alone a “pillar of the church” – and a rogue or a cruel tyrant the rest of the week. The command of Jesus to love your neighbour has applications in many areas of life. Be aware of the social movements in your day that highlight injustices and where Christian compassion must reach out and determine where you should not only practise compassion but apply pressure on civil authorities to do something as well.
Lord, help me to apply my Christian conscience everywhere.