December 10, 2023
I charged your judges at that time: “Give the members of your community a fair hearing, and judge rightly between one person and another, whether citizen or resident alien. You must not be partial in judging: hear out the small and the great alike; you shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. Any case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.” Deuteronomy 1:16–17
Human rights violations are far too common in our world today. These violations come in the form of exploitation, discrimination, violence and many other horrors. These rights are God-given by our nature of being human and being God’s children. However, they have been simultaneously named by society and have been declared human rights by documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and countless examples of legal repercussions for those who have violated the rights of others. As Deuteronomy says, all people shall receive equal judgment and equal respect, regardless of identity, citizenship or political standing. The text also mentions that any question that is too tough for us to tackle as mortal beings should be brought unto God. It seems that the aspirations that we have for human rights and human rights law are in line with the aspirations that are set out for us in Deuteronomy. So, it is our duty as Christians to work toward the respect of human rights for all people, all the time. As we see brutal violence all over the world, in Israel and Palestine, in Ukraine, in Sudan and all over the world, we are called to speak for those who have been silenced by oppressive and exploitative forces. Listen to the voices of those oppressed in the same manner that we would listen to those in positions of power. When we feel overwhelmed by the horrors of human rights violations around the world, God calls us to bring these burdens before God. For all our human shortcomings, God sees no difference between the big and the small, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless. We continue to strive to make our human rights laws reflective of the way God calls us to treat each other, while always knowing God is there to listen when we struggle with the ways that we have failed others.
Margaret Collins, Young Adult Volunteer, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 10, 2023, the Second Sunday of Advent (Year B)
Today’s Focus: Human Rights Day
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Katie Snyder, Project Manager for Digital Fundraising and Interpretation, Ministry Engagement & Support, A Corp
Jeya So, Associate, Training & Leader Cohorts, Theology, Formation & Evangelism, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Let us pray
Dear Lord, we pray for all those who suffer under any form of human rights violations. We pray that they know they are loved and valued by God and the world. Lay your hands on them. Hear our calls for justice and continue to push us to act in a way that would please you. Guide us as we strive for equality and respect for all of your children. Amen.