24 September 2017



2012
> Have You Not heard? Commissioning and Baptism
> Papatoetoe district 150 years opening service

2010
> Pentecost - The Genesis Experiment
> Freedom and human trafficking
> The Corinthian Puzzle - Resurrection Body
> [Waitangi Weekend]. Hope for a Future
> Being a Healing Community
> Turbans and Prophets in Manurewa
> Light to the Nations -O Surely Not the Samaritans!
> Jesus the real human - not Avatar

2009
> Prophet at Copenhagen Needed
> CLIMATE CHANGE - Revisiting the Creation stories
> Love Lived
> Questions of God
> Tsunami.and Job, God in disaster
> Reconciling Cultures
> John the Baptist - A reminder of reality
> Do not follow the advice of the wicked

2008
> If only You would sort it God!
> Invited and rejected - Texts of terror
> Saying Yes! but its really No!
> Thanksgiving
> Claiming God is on our side - Dangerous and Unwise
> Let your Love be genuine
> Bible and Qu'ran Ishmael and Isaac
> Fruitpickers wanted
> Faith Changing Culture
> Easter greeting - Peace be with you
> Freed For Seeing
> Temptations of Leadership - Dedication of leaders
> Let There be no Divisions Among You

2007
> How many husbands in Heaven?
> The Dishonest Manager
> The Prayer which Changes the World
> What are we getting them into? Succession planning
> Faith there is a future
> Forgiven - the one who loves much
> THE SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, SIGNS AND WONDERS
> Temptation
> Free flowing wine, Free flowing grace

2006
> The Birth Stories of Jesus - whom do we serve
> Sexuality Working out our Faith
> What is Wisdom?
> Stilling the Voices of the Storm
> THE GROWING SEED
> Pentcost - Facing the Darkness
> Moving on from Betrayal
> Friends my Mother Warned me About
> Ethiopian Eunchs Are In - Good News For theChurch
> St Patrick and Mission today, Potatoes and Rice
> Family is a Cultural word

2005
> Christmas Day Reflection - Power of Hope
> Subverting the System - The Talents Revisited
> Living God! Joshua Leadership with Wet Feet
> Futurechurch conference and the Presence of God
> The Golden Calf is not the Name of a Pub
> Who?
> Induction Sermon - Pukekohe Who Is Your Neighbour
> What is Fair and What is Just?
> Confrontation at Hunters Corner
> Food in the Wilderness
> Bombers in London, Weeds among the Wheat
> The Gospel is already Sowen for us to Find
> Human sacrifice. God's Demand or Our Desire
> Marriage - From Contract to Promise
> Who is he?
> Seeing the Light
> The Man at the Well
> East of Eden- Our Story
> Dingwall 75th - Charity or Justice
> Doing Justice - An Induction Sermon
> Light in the world
> Tsunami - World in Turmoil

2004
> Promises Kept
> Christ The King - We don't have Kings anymore!
> What is Our Mission : Connecting with Other Faiths
> The Word of God is not Chained
> Descent into Hell
> What does the Lord Require - Assembly report
> 150th service Rev Sharon Ensor's sermon
> The neighbour who comes from God..
> Driving out Demons - Fears Of Mental Illness
> Flowing Waters 2 Spirit of Peace
> Flowing Waters 1 - Reflections in Japan
> Putting it On The Line
> Go Fishing- Youth Leaders Dedication
> Waitangi Day Celebration
> God's Love is Wider than We Want
> The Best Wine
> Dancing Stars - Science and Theology

2003
> First Sunday of Christmas
> Church culture to Mission Culture
> Be Wise
> Trinity - Beyond Miracles
> Sir Ed Hilary- Ascension Sunday
> Culture challenged by Love
> On the Road to Gaza
> Whose Voice? - Mother's Day
> Rows of White Crosses. [Anzac]
> Easter Day - Go , Jesus is Waiting for You.


Sermons
Sermon - 16 May 2010
Bible Verse: Acts 16:16-34
(click the verse above to read the passage online)

Freedom and human trafficking

Do you want to know what Easter looks like in action? That is what Luke is showing us in the stories of the early church in Acts. They tell us that to act takes courage and often leads to trouble but the Spirit may well send us into confrontations we did not really choose. This is still happening

Say "Nepal" to a New Zealander and we think - Mountains, Ed Hillary and maybe Schools in the high mountain villages. What we don't often hear about is that one of Nepal's biggest exports is children and young women.

In a film by Puchira Gupta we start with the story of a young man who lives in one of the poorest countries of the world, Nepal. His parents have gone to India to work leaving him with the family debt to pay. He is trapped, so when a kindly person learns about his plight and comes to him, he listens.
"You have a sister?" "Yes she's 14" "well I can get her a job in a carpet factory in Katmandu and give you 3,000 rupees"
So her brother tells his sister to go with the kind stranger. And she, brought up in a culture where women are taught to do what their fathers, brothers and any men of the family say, goes. Then the stranger comes and sees his other sister, she is nine years old.
" I can give you 10,000 rupees and she could come and work in a home".
And she goes.
Later, when he has paid the debt he goes to look for his sisters and cannot find them.
They have been taken to the brothels of Mumbi. where many of these children are held in locked premises, often underfed, and where the Aids rate is 60%. By their middle teens may have developed full blown aids and when they are too ill or no longer attractive for the trade they are thrown into the streets.

A Christian shelter rescues some and sends them home, but looks after many who have been rejected by the families who were tricked into selling them. One Indian politician, a devout Hindu, runs rescue raids for the girls, to free them to go home, but often these are thwarted by the corruption of the local police who benefit from a protection racket they operate.

It is big business, this trade in people. The modern slave trade is widespread today. The United Nation statistics show that in Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Russia and China trafficking in people is big business.

This includes many children. The children are used in different ways In Somalia.there is a big problem selling children for child labour. Lul Hassan Matan, who was the director of child protection in Somalia's National Human Rights Commission, says. "Whenever you see a child in the street crying and ask him or her why, they respond they are not with their parents, but have been brought in to work."

All over the world, including a significant problem in the United States, people are being bought and sold. At present there is an international move to raise people's consciousness about the trade in order to stop it - to render slavery unacceptable.

The widely used definition of People trafficking is
the act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring and receiving a person through the use of force, coercion or other means for the purpose of exploiting them. A victim of people trafficking is deceptively recruited into exploitative conditions; they may be bonded to their traffickers through an unacceptable debt and in many cases kept in slave-like conditions.

In Nepal the young girls of the hill country are desperately at risk and as rescue organizations get the girls home, and their mothers and the women hear about what has happened there has been a move by the women to get girls educated and to change their second class citizenship which makes them vulnerable to being taken. The same conditions make the people very open to the message of the Maoist liberation movements which are taking the country over from its feudal system at the moment.

At the same time the recruiters are getting more sophisticated in their methods. They send out girls dressed in fine clothes to a village, the girls look on in an admiration fueled by the images they see on Television. "How did you get like that ?" They are told they can be like this too and are tricked into going with the recruiter.

When Paul and Silas visited the Roman colony of Philippi in the first century, slavery was part of society. Paul has met a local businesswoman down by the river, the place of prayer for the local Jews, and she has heard his message of the freedom and salvation Jesus brings and as happens where the Spirit of God is moving opens her home to him to offer hospitality to the travelers.
We hear that as Paul and Silas go about their task of preaching the good news they are followed by a slave girl.

. Her work was to tell people's fortunes, In a city where going to the oracles were how you planned your life, the slave girl made money for her master. She was irritating because she followed them "for many days" calling out the truth. Her insight was being diverted to these strangers. After a number of days of this Paul gets annoyed, up till then this woman had been part of the scenery, he really hadn't seen her, but now he turns and cured her of the disability which was used to tell fortunes, removed the cause, in this case demonic as is anything which destroys us..

Paul causes her to lose her job, her price on the slave market is devalued and the lucrative business of the master is wrecked. He has no further income from this girl.

When you really start acting with the good news there are consequences. Paul and Silas didn't get back to Lydia's home that night because the angry owner, took the high moral ground and attacked, " when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities

They complained that these men are disturbing our city; breaching the peace translate really "rocking the boat"
That they "are Jews and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe. The crowd joined in to attack. The magistrate , without worrying about any facts, facts and truth go out the door when making someone a common enemy, had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods.

All is not what it seems as the story continues for Paul and Silas, the prisoners, set the one who imprisons them, the jailer free. Once again the Spirit moves and the jailer offers hospitality and he and his family are baptized.

Then Paul refuses to be sneaked out of town by the now embarrassed magistrates but asks for and receives an apology . He goes to visit the fledgling church at Lydia's to make sure they know what has happened. Maybe that day there was a slave girl and a jailor among those meeting, but Paul did not just visit and leave the local church with his mess but ensured that they were not going to suffer the consequence of his actions

God is at work freeing people.

Paul did not see with our eyes the endemic evil that was part of the Roman empire and one which it was based, of slavery itself. It was taken for granted, it was big business but the main mission for that generation that we see in the early church was that of reaching the Gentiles. In doing that the foundations of slavery were being slowly disturbed.

It was a much later generation of the church that tackled the Great British and European and newly emerging American nations on the issue of the slavery on which their wealth was based. The sugar and cotton trades - huge in the industrial age were built on slavery.

The same gospel was preached, The same motives resisted, money was going to be lost, and the same threats used - What do you know? You are disturbing our peaceful empires?"

We know about child labour which was in the rug factories particularly of India and Nepal, but we probably would still buy their wares, the same goes for some cheap products.

We feel helpless to change what is existing and so far from us. New Zealand is not a source country for people trafficking but we are in a small way a destination for a few in the sex trade.
Our laws were tightened up in 2002. but there is a possibility with some groups not speaking English that people are unaware of their rights.

Christian and others groups join together to rescue girls and the children they bear in the brothels, but that is a drop in the bucket. As long as there is demand for the wares or services, those who trade in people make money, and those who make money, often criminal gangs, have power.

The real work of prevention is that women, in particular, and children learn they are not worthless and for men to value their women as people, not chattels. so they are not easily recruited.
It is very hard to take someone who knows that they are precious.

The other prevention is by people like us being aware, not being nave that these things are happening and not to accept what gives us disquiet.

Freeing the modern day slave girls and boys is still as risky as it was in Paul's day . As is any real work which frees people in the name of Christ. It rocks boats, it gets complaints.

The powers which bind us, and they can be many and varied, strongly resist losing their clout and hide behind what can appear to be the moral high ground. . But the freedom of Christ allows even the jailors to be freed. Its is good news, that gives us new life and may shake the foundations of the old ways.

Beware, for that same Spirit that moves us into action is here mang us today.
.
Thanks be to God.

Rev. Margaret Anne Low

 

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