Tuesday, July 30, 2013

When the Verdict Hurts

Sunday at St Luke's was themed around injustice / racism / prejudice / your experience perhaps as a victim / your experience as a perpetrator / the damage it does in our world.

The easiest way to make the content of Sunday avaliable is probably via a blog post, so here is Sunday at St Luke's 28/07/2013 in summary.  

Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ which we may participate. The more clearly we learn to recognize that the ground and strength and promise of all our fellowship is in Jesus Christ alone, the more serenely shall we think of our fellowship and pray and hope for it. LIFE TOGETHER page 30.

A Catholic Prayer:
Father, you have given all peoples one common origin.
It is your will
that they be gathered together
as one family
in yourself.
Fill the hearts of mankind with the fire of your love
and with the desire to ensure justice
 for all.
By sharing the good
 things you give us,
may we secure an equality for all
our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
May there be an end to division, strife and war.
May there be a dawning of a truly human society
built on love and peace.
Grant us values that seek justice,
May we be people that aid the victims of injustices.
As you forgive the worst sinners,
Equip me with a non-judgmental ability,
To forgive all offenders of Your laws,
And to support the healing process.
You are the true direction to justice.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.

An Unjust Verdict:
·        Consider the world through the eyes of others, through the perspectives of another culture.
·        Consider injustice in the world and the roles we play as perpetrators of injustice and as people called to stand for justice.
·        Consider injustice in your own life, your response to that, your reaction to that, how you carry that. How do you respond when an unjust verdict is directed at you?
·        Consider the impact your response to injustice has on the lives of those that look up to you or are closest to you. Kids, family members, colleagues.
·        Consider the response of Jesus to injustice.
·        Consider the way different bible characters and stories have different appeal to people of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds and how our ethnicity shapes our reading of the biblical text.
We then watched the sermon An Unjust Verdict by Howard-John Wesley, I couldn't work out to add the video into this post but the youtube link is here.

With your neighbour:

Re-read the quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the opening Catholic prayer.
What is compelling, challenging or inspiring about this quote and prayer?

What challenged or inspired you most in regards to Howard-John's sermon?
Are there certain passages of the bible or bible characters that you think particularly appeal to your culture? Why?
Are there certain passages of the bible that particularly appeal to our western, materialistic and individualistic culture? Why?
Are there certain passages of scripture, biblical character or theological themes that you think western, materialistic and individualistic culture tries to avoid?
Where you challenged in any regarding injustice, racism or prejudice?

Consider President Barak Obama's recent comments in regards to this incident. What stands out to you?

"In families and churches and workplaces, there’s a possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can; am I judging people, as much as I can, based on not the colour of their skin but the content of their character? That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.

And let me just leave you with — with a final thought, that as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. I doesn’t mean that we’re in a post-racial society. It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated. But you know, when I talk to Malia and Sasha and I listen to their friends and I see them interact, they’re better than we are. They’re better than we were on these issues. And that’s true in every community that I’ve visited all across the country."

Eastern Orthodox Prayer:
We bless you, O God, most high and Lord of mercy.
You are always doing great and mysterious things with us,
glorious and wonderful, and without number.
You grant us sleep for rest from our sickness,
and repose from the burdens of our much toiling flesh.
We thank you, for you have not destroyed us with our sins, but have continued to love us;
and though we were sunk in despair, you have raised us up to glorify your power.
There­fore, we implore your incomparable good­ness,
enlighten the eyes of our understand­ing,
and raise up our minds from the heavy sleep of slow change.
Open our mouth and fill it with your praise,
that we may be able without distraction to sing and confess that you are God,
glorified in all and by all.
The eternal Father, with your only begotten Son, and your all holy, good, and life giving Spirit.
Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.


Harg said...

Can I comment here? "Unjust verdict"? Did you even watch any of the testimony? The evidence overwhelmingly supported George Zimmerman's account of the events that transpired that night. From the eyewitness accounts to the forensic evidence, George Zimmerman was ATTACKED by Trayvon Martin and only survived by getting his gun out just in time. Martin was likely on drugs. Fruit juice and skittles are used with codeine to make a narcotic concoction called "Lean". The verdict was right and Just. I didn't watch the video, but George Zimmerman is innocent adn the only travesty in our (US) justice system is that this case was ever brought to trial. The indictment was politically motivated and, fortunately, as weak as our jury system is, it worked.

Joseph McAuley said...

Hi Harg, though not included in the blog post, I offered a caveat at church on Sunday that our purpose in pursuing this exercise was not to do with whether or not Zimmerman was guilty or innocent. I openly expressed that one can hopefully trust the judicial system and also that, quite simply, we in New Zealand are far to removed from the facts of the case to have any real opinion. Rather we were exploring the reality of injustice and unjust verdicts and how might we handle or navigate them in our lives, as well as reflecting on issues when looked at from a different cultural perspective. That is all.