URC Daily Devotion Thursday 9th May 2024

Thursday 9th May 2024
 
Reading Luke 4: 17-19

He [Jesus] unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
        to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to set free those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

Reflection

With an estimated 49.6 million people living in modern slavery in the world today, over 100,000 people are estimated to be exploited within the United Kingdom.

I first knowingly encountered victims of modern slavery while pioneering a church, 57 West, among the homeless in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. Several disclosures of labour exploitation were made. Richard shares his story with permission:

Richard, became homeless in his early twenties while suffering with poor mental health. Offered a job paving and tarmacing in Europe, he worked long hours and was barely paid. Accommodation was in a damp caravan. His health suffered. When Richard tried to leave, he and his parents were threatened. After twenty years of labour exploitation he finally managed to escape and became homeless once again. He attended a local church, where he was helped to find accommodation and support. Richard is rebuilding his life.
 
These stories of labour exploitation inspired the emergence of SAMS (Southend Against Modern Slavery) Partnership. SAMS draws together community organisations to partner towards a slavery-free community through awareness raising, training and offering survivor care for those who have experienced exploitation.

For those within SAMS Partnership who have faith, we are inspired by the words of Jesus, in Luke Chapter 4. As disciples of Jesus, we follow this mission , ‘proclaim release to the captives’ and ‘to set free those who are oppressed’.

If you suspect someone is a victim of modern slavery call 999 in an emergency, or for advice or to report concerns, call The Modern Slavery Helpline: 08000 121 700.
 
Prayer
 
Liberating God 
Give hope to those who are trapped in modern slavery;
Comfort those who are suffering; 
Bring release to those in captivity;
Heal their trauma.
Open our ears to hear their cry;
Move your church and local communities to act;
Help us identify and safeguard those suffering.
So that we join with you in setting free those who are oppressed.
Amen  
 

 

Today’s writer

The Revd Dr Dan Pratt is a URC minister working as Director of Pastoral Studies at Westminster College in Cambridge. Dan is founder of The Together Free Foundation, stimulating community responses to modern slavery.

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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