8 Speak out on behalf of the voiceless,
and for the rights of all who are vulnerable.
9 Speak out in order to judge with righteousness
and to defend the needy and the poor.
Driving through the countryside yesterday, I happened upon two mature geese with a row of goslings crossing a small road. One goose waddled in front of this little flock. She led the way and then her hatchlings followed, while the gander closely brought up the rear. As “Mom and Dad” perfectly marshaled this row of youngsters, they mindfully crossed this road from one part of a stream to the next. I slowed to a stop and smiled thinking about how carefully these adult geese guided their little family to safety. Oh, how these parents were ready to defend their charges at all costs! Whether we have been the diligent parent or the compliant child in a serious situation, we all know this circumstance from one side or the other.
The defense of our offspring is perhaps a universal behavior that cuts across all species. In relation to this scripture, the first nine verses of Proverbs 31 are actually instructions from King Lemuel‘s mother, wisely shared with her son. What are you doing, son? Speak up, stand up… for those in need. Likewise today, I remember advice offered from my parents. In particular, my Dad’s words ring in my ears: “Have the courage of your convictions.”
How do we not stand up and speak up for those in need? Do we always defend the needy? How do we speak up for others when this puts us in precarious situations? If we are living God’s calling on our lives, then we know we must.
Humanity understands the responsibility to support our offspring, leading the way to stand up to protect those who are younger and needier than ourselves. Yet do we also do this when standing up for someone or something means going outside our comfort zone? Do we live this same responsibility when it means defending someone by taking a risk by saying: I am here for _________ (fill in your blank)?
As for me, I am proud of our Medford UMC community for standing up for and with members of the LGBTQ+ community. This is one stance on human rights that we have taken for the sake of social justice, even while others actively disagree. We could easily be like many communities, who say they welcome a stranger, but instead quietly ignore their own responsibility to speak out for those who have been marginalized. We could easily not say a thing. Instead we are courageously living God’s calling as a community of faith.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
I have asked many questions in this reflection today. Look back for one question that speaks to you. Discuss this question with a friend and/or write about your thoughts, as you consider the cause of social justice. What is our Christian responsibility to speak up for those who have no voice, or for those who have been marginalized or denied justice?
Prayer: Holy One, you know all about those who have been forgotten or are marginalized. You help us speak up much better than we ever could by ourselves. Thank you for your guidance and strength. Help us to bravely speak up and stand up on behalf of any of your children in need. Amen.