All posts by Linda Martindale

About Linda Martindale

Linda is a writer based in Cape Town, South Africa - living, loving, learning every day, sharing a little on the way. Writing a few blogs, including: www.safehomebru.wordpress.com and www.reflectionsofaragamuffin.wordpress.com and www.anotherpoetincapetown.wordpress.com

Lament, Active Hope and Peace

This past week or so has been a harrowing one in my country, South Africa. A child kidnapped close to my neighbourhood and community search parties leading to nothing; the one-year anniversary of the death of a young lady who went to a post office only to be raped and murdered by a post office worker; the fatal shooting of a young disabled man who did not answer the police when asked a question! I can see from the international news that it has been similar around the world. Police brutality. Violence against women and children. Racism and prejudice. The issue of land and injustice. People trying to make a home in unwelcoming spaces. Human trafficking and modern-day slavery. The wrecking of the beautiful planet we call home. Relentless animal cruelty in the form of factory farming. The list could go on and on.

The world is a broken place.The opposite of ‘shalom’ in every way. We may ask ourselves, How long, Oh Lord?
 
I was on a call this week with one of our Micah Board members who is based in Lebanon and heard the hardship that the people of Beirut are facing. Daily we receive messages from Micah members around the world that tell of suffering and injustice and hardship. When one member of our body suffers, we need to lament together.
 
Decades ago I prayed a prayer that I have sometimes regretted – I prayed, “God, break my heart with the things that break your heart.” I had lived out much of my young Christian faith before that in a kind of protected and disconnected bubble, singing about Jesus and telling everyone of God’s goodness, while my country was burning in the last throes of apartheid, one of the most evil systems in the last century, endorsed by parts of the church in South Africa. But God cracked my heart open, and gave me eyes to ‘see’, and it changed my life then, and continues to do so. Since then it has cracked open again and again. I have learned to lament for this broken world. I have learned to love the world in a deeper and more connected way.
 
I listened to an excellent podcast this week where listeners were reminded that when you truly love, you move towards, not away from. If your child has leukemia you move towards them, not away. When the world you love is in desperate need of healing, we move towards the ‘dis-ease’, not away. God gives us a love for this world …and our compassion is our superpower not a weakness. It takes courage to ‘see’ and lament. But what happens if we stop at lament? It can be overwhelming and paralyzing, so we have to nurture hope and guard our minds as we live out our faith.  
 
But what does hope look like in a very broken world? This past week I have been thinking again about how hope is different to optimism. Optimism says everything will be okay with a false sense of positivity. Hope is active. It is involved. It is close to pain and suffering. I love how Rebecca Solnit phrases it in her book, Hope in the Dark:
 
 “Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal… To hope is to give yourself to the future – and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.” 
 
Active hope is more than optimism or positive thinking. It is what compels us to move and act for change. And God’s presence with us brings us peace in the midst of the storms. The world is a beautiful and broken place. God is restoring and bringing the kingdom down to earth. God is redeeming. We are being reconciled to God, to creation, to our neighbours. Yes, we lament and that moves us to act with hope for change, and God brings peace that is beyond our understanding as we do that.
 
As a part of the Micah secretariat team, I focus on communications, resources, content and storytelling, and as a journalist and editor by vocation, I take a particular interest in storytelling and news (I am a news junkie!). I have seen that the media mostly offers us two options – Hard News, which tells us how awful, hopeless and broken the world is, or Public Relations, which tells us of a perfect world that we know deep down is not true. The church sometimes mirrors this.   
 
I believe we can live out, follow and offer a ‘third way’, which acknowledges the brokenness of the world, and yet lives out and points to the lives, words and actions of people who are serving, loving, bringing change and showing a different way. This is active hope. We value the clip that Tearfund has released (see below) where we are reminded that we are invited to join God in this beautiful and powerful restoration journey.
 
We lament. We live out active hope. We work for change. We rest in God’s peace.
 
The whole of Psalm 94 has brought me great comfort this last week, but these verses are particularly encouraging.
 
16 Who will rise up for me against the wicked?
    Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?
17 Unless the Lord had given me help,
    I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
18 When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
    your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
19 When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy. 
 
Linda Martindale
Micah Global

Stand Up, Speak Out, and Take Action – An Open Letter to the Church at Large on World Refugee Day 2020

By Thomas P. Albinson

Few would disagree that the world is not as it should be. It feels like we are on a mutinous ship sailing off course into a hurricane in a war zone. And as much as we would like to focus on solving one crisis at a time, we have little choice but to deal with them all at the same time.
Among the challenges we need to keep on our radar is the escalating global refugee crisis. As is true for other great challenges of the 21st Century, the Church has potential to be an important part of the solution if she will dare stand up, speak out and take action.

World Refugee Day is observed annually on June 20th to help us not lose sight of the escalating number of displaced people worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes due to persecution, war, and gross violations of human rights. We call these women, children and men, “refugees”, “asylum seekers” and “internally displaced people” (IDP). One person in every 97 people is forcibly displaced today. They are among the most marginalized and vulnerable people in the world.

The majority are women and children. Although each person’s experience is unique, they have this in common: they fled their homes because they feared for their lives and they cannot safely return.

A tiny fraction of the refugee population is given opportunity to integrate into their country of refuge or to resettle to another country in which they can begin to rebuild their lives. Most languish in camps, detention centers, government housing, or on the streets for years and even decades as they wait on a solution to their displacement. Life in such conditions is nothing short of dehumanizing.

The world has identified three solutions to forced displacement, each of which deals with restoring place to people.

  1. Return home.
  2. Integrate into your country of refuge.
  3. Resettle to another country.

On the face of it, these should work. But they are failing miserably. They fail not because they are bad solutions. They fail because our world lacks the will to implement them in any meaningful way.

For how can a refugee return home if the conditions that forced her to flee have not been resolved? And how can a person integrate into her country of refuge when 85% of the world’s refugees are in developing nations that do not have the economic or social capacity to absorb so many people? And how can they resettle to another country when nations are increasingly reluctant to offer them opportunity to do so?

Not only are the solutions failing, some nations that could be helping are avidly pursuing unjust and harmful “solutions”. Some have mobilized their military to stop refugees from entering. Some are erecting fences and building walls to keep them out. Some have created policies of deterrence – purposely creating inhumane conditions for asylum seekers and refugees within their borders. Some have even developed policies to offshore asylum seekers – sending them to wait in another country while their case is processed (including Libya, Rwanda, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, and others). Governments pursuing these kinds of “solutions” are prone to misrepresent refugees and asylum seekers, framing them as a threat to their society rather than as people in desperate need of safety.

So as the number of forcibly displaced people in the world rises, the space in which they can seek refuge is shrinking. This increases the uncertainty, vulnerability, and hopelessness with which displaced people wrestle daily. Where can they find hope for a solution to their suffering and loss of place?

While it is troubling to see some Christian leaders and churches supporting anti-refugee and anti-asylum seeker policies, there are a growing number of others advocating on behalf of forcibly displaced people and actively welcoming and serving them. They rightly believe this to be an essential part of the mission with which God has entrusted us.

We shouldn’t overlook the fact that human migration was part of God’s plan from the beginning when he commanded humankind to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth”6. Following our rebellion against God and our subsequent deportation from the Garden, human migration plays an important backdrop to much of the biblical narrative. Many are the stories of forced migration in Scripture.

Furthermore, the Bible is filled with verses communicating God’s expectation that his people seek the welfare of the vulnerable – including the oft repeated trio of the fatherless, the widow and the foreigner. What foreigner is most like the orphan and the widow if not the refugee?
To be absolutely sure that we don’t miss the importance of this, God flat out commands us to love the alien as we love ourselves and to welcome strangers. For this is how the kingdom of God works itself into our turbulent world.

The kingdom comes when we let go of fear and embrace love. It comes into view when we choose to no longer view refugees and asylum seekers as a threat to be stopped, but rather recognize them to be people in need of our welcome and protection.

Imagine if the majority of churches worldwide actively joined their voices to others in the world calling upon our nations to actively welcome, protect and integrate forcibly displaced people into our societies rather than spending millions to keep them outside of our borders. We just might be able to influence public opinion and awaken the will of our governments to meaningfully implement solutions to forced displacement.

Churches can do more than advocate for place on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers. For what local community is better suited to helping people survive and recover from forced displacement than a church? At her best, a local church is a supportive, welcoming, and healing community that offers life-giving faith in the God who sees, hears, and cares for us. And a community that reflects the image of God to others – especially to the marginalized and vulnerable in the world.

A healthy church turns outsiders into insiders. Local churches have the holy privilege of offering place to others that sends the powerful message: “You belong here. You are one of us.” It is impossible to overstate the profound impact this has on a person who has been stripped of their place in the world.

The Church has a critical and unique role to play when it comes to engaging the global refugee crisis. She can do what humanitarian agencies and social services cannot. The Church can rehumanize refugees and asylum seekers while helping them integrate into their new context. Such work is central to our mission and plays to the natural strengths of a healthy church.
As we sail on deeper into the turbulent 21st Century, may the Church stand up as a beacon of hope as it plays an active part in the implementation of solutions to the benefit of those who have been stripped of place in the world.

“Spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become as noonday.” Isaiah 58:10

To download this document in PDF format with Footnotes and References, please click here.

For more resources:

  1. www.IAFR.org/learn
  2. www.IAFR.org/toolbox

About the Author: Tom Albinson has been serving internationally as a missionary among refugees since 1981. He serves as Founder/President of International Association for Refugees (IAFR) and as Ambassador for Refugees, Displaced and Stateless People with World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). He is a founding member of the Refugee Highway Partnership (RHP).

Our Anchor, Our Hope

By Sheryl Haw

Our anchor, strength and hope is in the wonderful truth revealed throughout Scripture and through the life of Christ; that affirms what we believe: we believe that there is one living God, who is the creator, owner and maintainer of the whole universe. Our God is accessible and personal; He is trustworthy and good (in him there is no darkness at all); He is loving and compassionate, merciful and just (not wanting one life to be lost – 2 Peter 3:9); He is all powerful and is sovereign over all the earth.

The question that will arise in many people’s hearts and minds is if that is true why has God allowed this virus outbreak? If he is all loving, all powerful, is against all evil and suffering, and can thus act to stop this crisis, why are we where we are at now?

The first thing we learn from Biblical examples of facing such suffering is that the question, the lament, the protest before God, is first and foremost not to ask why but to ask how long?, and to pursue God persistently for his intervention.

Chris Wright in his book, The God I don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith, has some helpful thoughts on this and we highly recommend this book.

The why question is a tough one. We are always looking for a cause and effect rationale.

I remember the dilemma I experienced when working in South Sudan some years ago. A young teenage boy presented at the clinic with classic signs of Type 1 diabetes. We had the knowledge to treat him, but we had no access to an ongoing supply of insulin. He lived in a war zone, in poverty and oppression. I had a list of why questions. Why would the warring factions persist in their fighting? Why could we in other countries have access to great medical care and this young boy could not? Why could some people buy multiple houses and cars and this boy be destitute? It is not that people were not aware of poverty, war and oppression – information was constantly available. So why didn’t the world act? Who was to blame? Was it inequality and the selfishness of humanity? Was it the unjust colonial powers? Was it the rebel fighters? If someone said to me it was the boy who sinned – I would’ve been so angry as he was the one person in the setting that was not to blame for his poverty and illness! Of course, we could blame God. Why didn’t He save the boy? And then I reflected on in what way should He have saved the boy? Should He have reconciled the warring factions as a peace maker? Should He have pressured the rich to share their wealth and enable the country to flourish? Should He have sent the medical experts to have a hospital for the boy? What did we want God to do? Or had He not already done all of this?

Had Jesus not died on the cross to break the power of death? Had he not accepted to carry all our pain and sorrows? Had he not called a people out to be an example to the new humanity he has inaugurated, to be peace makers, reconcilers, to be healers and builders? Had he not sent us to this very boy to love, to serve and to care for him? Of course, the answer was, and is, yes, yes, yes.

So, though there is undeniably a mystery of evil (the death and loss this virus is bringing), exacerbated by the selfish, sinful actions and inactions amongst us all that increase the impact of such a virus (for example, the selfish hoarding and stock piling of items, the non-sensical violence and stigma against people of Chinese origin), I know with absolute certainty that God has acted, is acting and will act on our behalf to respond to this crisis and every other. And, he has called out a people, the Body of Christ, to be demonstrators of his love and care at such a time as this.

Jesus, thank you for all you have done, are doing and will do. Here we are – send us to live it out amongst every community today.

#LiveHope #Coronavirus #LoveYourNeighbour

Resilience and the Expanding Kingdom

It has been a slam-bang beginning. This early, we have seen the ravages of wounded nature fighting back. Bushfires raging without letup in the wild outback of Australia. Taal volcano erupting, spewing a black plume of cloud-like ash falling on miles and miles of towns and cities. The novel corona virus killing hundreds in Wuhan and spreading silently and quickly its deadly menace across the globe. 
All these, plus the never-ending wrongs inflicted by corrupt governments in rogue states and the dying of democracy in this country (Philippines) — the oldest republic in Asia — and elsewhere.

In times like this it is easy to bury our heads in the sand and make what some call ‘a separate peace.’ In the face of despotic governance, many take to the high seas like our sea-faring ancestors who fled from the rule of the fabled Madjapahit empire. We do not revolt; we just migrate to other climes.

Church people see in all these signs of the ‘end times.’ Some see no reason for re-arranging social reality; it is a dying world, it is said, let us just evangelise and save as many as we can from this sinking ship.

This line of thinking misunderstands the nature of our good news. The gospel is not just about securing a ticket to heaven. It is about making this earth a bit more like heaven.

When Jesus sent out the twelve disciples, he told them to bring this message to the lost sheep of Israel: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ The longed-for restoration of the Davidic kingdom, the best in their memory of what a good government is like, has come in the person of the Messiah Jesus.

The good news is that a new social order is coming into being, this time backed up by supernatural signs and wonders: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” (Matthew 10.7-8) With the coming of Jesus, the powers of heaven have descended. A new reign of justice and righteousness has begun.  

This new order inaugurated by Jesus is here now, though in many ways hidden. It becomes visible when the people of God behave like true people of the Kingdom – fighting injustice, treating with kindness and compassion those in the margins, and walking with God in such a way that we ourselves are transformed. (Micah 6.8)

At the end of the day, the story that God is weaving through the travails of our time is our own re-making as a grand ‘poem’ – a ‘workmanship,’ created and crafted by the Lord Jesus for the good work he has prepared for us beforehand. (Ephesians 2.10)

This ‘good work’ is not just the bits and pieces we do as good disciples in our lives and professions, but no less than the making of “a new heaven and a new earth.” We have been saved, not just to sit around and wait for the rapture or some such thing, but to storm the gates of hell in this sad earth. The church is not just a hospital for the walking wounded, but an army, tasked with reclaiming, inch-by-inch, territory already won by Jesus on the cross. We are to be at the center of the fray, battling against principalities and powers that are entrenched in our systems and institutions. For this reason we need to be spiritually resilient, strengthened by the Spirit and wielding the Word as a mighty sword that pierces through all sorts of fake news.

The end of this story, we are told, is that we shall be like a spotless Bride coming down from heaven, inhabiting a new Jerusalem set in a new earth that we shall inherit.  (Rev.21.1-7)

The Bible tells us that we are not really going anywhere, but here. In Jesus, heaven has come down, and the kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdom of our God. (Rev.11.15)

Melba Padilla Maggay
President, Micah Global 

Protest and Lament

by Sheryl Haw

It was a hot Sunday afternoon in Somalia, good for siesta after a busy week of work at the clinic. We had some sick children in our care, but all seemed on the mend. A tap on my door by one of the Somali nurses led me back to hospital. He had asked me to check on a 2-year-old patient who we were planning to discharge. To my horror on arrival I found the child had died. The mother was weeping, everyone was shocked at this unexpected loss. I was angry – confused and then determined. I took myself into another room and started to wrestle with God. I protested, lamented, grieved, ranted, debated and then decided this simply could not be God’s plan. Decision taken, I sought the rest of the team and explained that I felt we should pray for the child to be raised from the dead! The team looked on, wide eyed! They agreed to stand with me.

We set the scene as best we could “according to the Bible”! Placed everyone out of the room bar the mother and the translator. We explained we wanted to pray for the child and asked if they would give permission. They agreed. Before I could start, one of the team began a prayer which went like this “God, we would like you to restore this child, but if it is not your will please keep her safe with you”. This prayer frustrated me – why give God an out clause!? So, I jumped in and prayed “In the Name of Jesus rise up”. I had my eyes open as I did not want to miss the first breath. I repeated – but no breath came.

We all started to weep, not just for the child and the family’s loss, but now we also wept for ourselves and our faith in God. What followed were some of the most profound conversations we ever had as a team. One member shouted at me as he challenged me as to why I would test God. He then broke down and wept because his brother had died of leukemia and he had also prayed for healing and none had come. Some exploded in anger at the injustice and evil death represented. Others questioned whether we had sufficient faith, others lamented the helplessness we all felt.

Then we had a knock on the door – the translator came to see us. He was deeply moved that we had cared so much as foreigners for this little Somali girl. He was amazed that we had demonstrated love to her family through prayer and comfort and tears of solidarity. We sat in stunned silence. Is that what they had seen?

Of course, we could argue the theology and practice around our approach to deciding to pray – yes, we had a lot to learn. But what I had not anticipated was the witness we gave of love, through lament and protest, through solidarity of grief and the presence we gave to stand in the gap for this child and family.

I have seen God heal miraculously. I have held people as they died. I have not understood why some are healed and some are not. Why some die and some live? The Bible is full of protests, lament, anger, grief and questions. The struggle with God over this is based on the tension of knowing that God is a good, compassionate, just God and a giver of life. The Cross was His demonstrate of his desire to see redemption, healing, restoration, liberation and reconciliation for all. Therefore, we protest when we see pain, suffering, injustice and death.

The Cross is also our hope. It is at the Cross we see the ultimate assurance of God’s love. It is the Cross that carries the pain, the lament, the protest, for it exposes the worst of evil and reveals the breadth of grace, mercy and love. Knowing full well every terrible thing, every painful reality, every agonising thing we face or go through, Jesus set his face towards Jerusalem. He would remove the sting of death, wipe away every tear and set things right. It is done!

And so until he returns, we protest – “How long O Lord” – we lament and grieve – “Lord, the pain is great“.

God receives our cries, he weeps with us, he carries our pain and he reveals his plan. Behold God will make all things new: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21:4).

New Wine – New Wineskins: Luke 5:36-39

By Sheryl Haw

Every generation needs to routinely take time to research, enquire and envision on how the Gospel is impacting the church and the world today.

Looking back through recent history we owe a great deal to those who inspired such spaces for reflection and obediently initiated the change that was needed. Responding to a perceived deficit or gap often requires an intentional focus on the missing need, at times to the expense of or the forfeiting of other important aspects. Hence the constant need to humbly walk together before God seeking his direction and focus remains the anchor we need to adhere to.

We are grateful for those who initiated “rethinking” processes. Rethinking mission, rethinking church, rethinking discipleship, rethinking …… We recognise the importance of movements that have stimulated the process of change and transformation, both within global and national contexts. We earnestly encourage the ongoing reflections and courage for change that will always be needed until Christ returns.

And what of today? What disquiet and unease is God’s Spirit prompting us to address? What structures and traditions, and ways of doing things do we need to lay down in order for the new to be released?

In a world so hungry for:

  • individual success, at the expense of family, community, morality, humanity and environment well being
  • love, of anything or anyone that addictively and temporarily fills this need
  • status and position, a constant need to be affirmed, praised, sort after, wanted, admired, envied.
  • charismatic, larger than life leaders who will sell a lie so convincingly that even the church signs up for it.

What is our response?

For me the teaching and practice of integral mission has and continues to be a catalyst that prompts us to continually seek God and his transforming Spirit to help us discern what next steps we need to take.

I am convinced that the Gospel is the power to transform all things in heaven and earth in Christ.

  • To end wars and to reconcile people – only the Gospel has the power to heal the pain, restore all the years the locusts have eaten, and to bring those who were once enemies together as family
  • To redeem and restore the devastating impact of climate change – heal the land, turn back the droughts and enable the land, flora and fauna, to flourish
  • To fill the hungry with good food
  • To bring justice and mercy to all, especially those who have been oppressed and exploited and abused
  • To bring hope and joy to life, especially to those who have robbed of this
  • To bring community and fellowship to those who have been isolated, marginalised and alone
  • To bring healing and wholeness to all those who our broken hearted and diseased
  • To bring life is all its fullness – Shalom
  • To know our God personally and corporately and to walk with Him in the cool of the day

The unease I believe the Spirit of God is prompting us to act on is our unbelief in the Gospel. We have either:

  • Preferred to imagine an escape plan from all the troubles in the world
    • Immediate: churches becoming “safe” zones from the world
    • Future: Jesus’ return will take us all elsewhere for a new start
    • Spiritualised: the signs of the world end has to come before Christ returns…
  • Preferred to imagine we can make things good by doing good alone
    • Immediate: aid delivery gives a temporary reprieve and has a feel-good factor
    • Future: Jesus’ return will complete what we have started,
    • Spiritualised: Mobilise all to do good so that when Christ returns, we will be rewarded
  • Prefer not to imagine and comfortable to just live for today and do enough to ease our guilt.

No matter how much we teach and act with an integral mission perspective, unless we believe that the Gospel is the power to change lives and situations we will remain in the tension of the above.

The compulsion to proclaim the Gospel that we read about in the Bible comes from the experienced belief in its power to liberate, redeem, restore and reconcile.

The compulsion to do good works we read about in the Bible comes from experiencing the Good News and loving as Christ loves us.

I believe we need to ask God to fan into flame our first love, be prepared to face opposition, commit to lives of integrity and holiness, to stand against injustice in all its forms, to stop all forms of spiritual hypocrisy – be authentic and obedient to Christ, to take time to strengthen ourselves in God’s Word, and to repent and act today in keeping with all that God has called us to as the Body of Christ.

I believe this needs to happen to every believer, every church, every organisation and college. We need to fall in love again. Then, God will show us the new wineskins he has prepared for us for today.

God’s Footprint in the Mess

By Christine MacMillan, World Evangelical Alliance

John 4:9 “The woman was surprised for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a Woman of Samaria?”

As I Chair the World Evangelical Task Force on Human Trafficking, I find myself asking the question: what is human about trafficking?  And then it resonates – for trafficking is very much human. It conscripts humans regardless of race, lifestyle, age and gender.  It is full of surprises when its victims and those becoming aware of its horror unravel personal stories when given the opportunity.  Jesus was not afraid to find his footsteps on messy ground. He risks his reputation by engaging with a woman from Samaria perceived known for her questionable relationship history.  He was interested in her story only silenced by living on the margins.

The nature of relationships covers a vast realm of considerations. You are reaching out in one moment and then becoming aware of your vulnerability in the next. Is Jesus at risk? Is the woman at risk? Human trafficking goes beyond statistics of victims. It goes beyond a headline that reads: “Children sold like cabbages”. As cabbages once devoured are finished. Victims of human trafficking viewed as profitable commodities can be devoured again and again and their story is never ending.

Captivity is rarely under question by users.  And yet, a surprise question from Jesus: “Can you give me a drink”?  Interest from Jesus starts from a point of what another can give.   

The scene of Jesus and the woman is inching closer with respect.  Not the usual judgment call or pointed finger.  It causes a woman from Samaria to ask why someone different from her would ask her for a drink.

Integral mission is not limited to one sided giving.  It has the integrity to see value from both sides. When the question in Micah is posed: “What does the Lord require of you?”, can we be asking that of ourselves and the “other” at the same time.  Our giving is reciprocated when we leave ourselves open to receive from unexpected sources. 

The nature of organizational relationships can often be tempted to be on the lookout for its own unlimited resources. If resources are limited, we sense our mission is under threat. We become concerned about our own survival and do everything under our control to attract resources to our particular ministry only. We brand our cups of water as success stories of our own accomplishments.

Coming back to the question what is human about trafficking poses a deep search. Trafficking victims are relegated to a one -sided giving of themselves that holds little surprises in their endless activities of being used. The water they drink is polluted. They are trafficked in streams of dead water.

Resources found in the practice of integral mission are purified gifts that respect with integrity our need to both give and receive.  In the midst of pollution Jesus loves to tread in the mess of contamination. He stops to hear our story with the intention there is more for us to give.  We who are in the Micah movement are learning to adopt listening patterns of mutuality on what the Lord requires. It is then there is enough water to go around.                                                                                                 

Peace and Reconciliation

A terzanelle related to peace and reconciliation (Micah 5:5; Matthew 5:9; Ephesians 2:13-18)

By Salvatore Anthony Luiso


Christ died to make reconciliation

He is the great peacemaker in God’s plan

He is the head of a holy nation.



To bring about peace between God and man,

The Son of God died as a sacrifice

He is the great peacemaker in God’s plan.


Yet God paid for more with that precious price

For peace among men Christ suffered that cost

The Son of God died as a sacrifice.


To repossess peace when it has been lost,

One must seek after, must pursue, that peace

For peace among men Christ suffered that cost.


One may need to strive hard to make strife cease

Christ Himself strove for the peace that He sought

One must seek after, must pursue, that peace.



Praise be to God for the peace He has wrought

Christ died to make reconciliation,

Christ Himself strove for the peace that He sought

He is the head of a holy nation.

Going Upstream

Written for Micah Global’s Prayer Ignite …

Brazilian Catholic Archbishop, Hélder Pessoa Câmara, is noted for saying, “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.

I have found this to be true. We can be seen as generous, kind and charitable when providing relief assistance in crisis work. But, if we speak about justice and how systems may oppress and keep people poor, it can be met with anger, defensiveness and sometimes even vitriol. I have heard people say, “Don’t bring politics into this.” Or, “Let us stick to the biblical issues.” The truth is … these are biblical issues – from start to finish of the Bible.

Followers of Jesus are called throughout scripture to love and serve those suffering with mercy and kindness. This is unquestionable. But too often the church stops there. We are also called to break down structures and systems that oppress – which is harder work and much less popular. It reminds me of the well-used story told in development circles of the village who kept rescuing babies out the river and finally someone asked, “Why don’t we go up the river and ask why they keep falling into the water in the first place?”

Isaiah 58 shows me that we are called to both – to the rescue and relief, which will always be there because we live in a fallen world, and the transformation of cultures, systems and structures that cause suffering, disenfranchisement and oppression ‘upstream’. Isaiah speaks to us of loosing the chains of injustice, untying the cords of the yoke to set the oppressed free, sharing food with the hungry, sheltering the wanderer, clothing for the naked, and to not to turn away from our fellow humans. This speaks to me of the wholeness of true transformation for which we work and pray. Providing relief for suffering people and working to change the systems ‘upstream’ that keep people vulnerable.

The hard work of bringing systemic change that literally unties the yoke of oppression takes time, commitment and courage; it may not feel as good or be as quickly obvious as the speed with which charitable relief take place, and yet it is our mandate as the Church to lead by example and show a different way.

True shalom, the peace for which we pray and work and trust, requires humility, lament and commitment to justice. Let us pray during this month that God will show us more of his heart for just systems and institutions, and that we will listen and hear the cries of those being oppressed and persecuted and exploited. Let us read the bible with people who we do not normally read it with to expand our view of scripture and God’s heart. Let us stand on the side of the marginalised and oppressed, whether we are those impacted by an injustice or not. Let us continue to swim upstream against the current of popular culture and the accepted systems so that we can show another way. Let us commit to do the hard work of going further up the river to see what systems need to be renewed, replaced and redeemed. Let us pray that God gives us new imagination and dreams for more of God’s kingdom come on earth.

Let us pray …

Linda Martindale
Micah Global

Caring for creation

The earth is so beautiful! For a time in my life, I used BBC’s Planet Earth as part of my quiet time with God – I was so blown away by the magnificence of creation, from the underground crystal caves that are indescribably beautiful in Mexico, to the massive expanse of red sand dunes of Namibia.

Earlier on in my Christian faith journey I left my natural inclination towards caring for creation and conservation of nature at the proverbial door, as it felt like evangelism and a focus on human suffering was of greater importance. Over the years I have learned more about a biblical understanding of integral mission and see that you don’t have to make a choice between the two. It is not a toss-up between ‘care about people’ and ‘care about the earth’. I have learned that they impact on one another in significant ways and caring for one is good for the other, and vice versa.

We have been given the mandate to care for this planet we call home. Throughout the Bible we are reminded that this is God’s creation and it is good! Psalms 24:1 tells us that “The earth is God’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” Some see the stewardship call from God in Genesis as an excuse to abuse the earth, but caring for this planet we have been given to live on and seeing the worth of all of creation, is good for us all and brings God glory. Revelation 11:18 reminds us that those who destroy the earth, will not go unpunished. And there is a lot more Biblical evidence that points to the truth that the planet is ours to steward well, not to abuse and plunder.

It is also a fact that it is the most vulnerable who feel the greatest impact of climate change. Martin Kapenda, from Micah Zambia, said in this clip recently, “Let us unite together to fight the forces of climate change and put up solutions that will work well for the people living in poverty, especially those mostly affected by climate change. It affects the poor most, and the poor are the ones who pollute the least, and that is the injustice of climate change. So, let us work together to change this scenario.”

Caring for creation is part of our mandate as Jesus followers on earth. Don’t be discouraged by those who have not understood this. Keep praying and acting and setting an example. Make ongoing changes in your life that will impact on the size of your environmental footprint. Challenge your political leaders to take this seriously. Pray for the Church to be an example by stewarding creation in ways that bring life and well-being to all living creatures. Pray for wisdom to raise children who see this as a part of our Christian discipleship. And pray that we leave a good legacy and life-giving earth for those children to steward in the future.

Let us pray … renew our hearts, God, and renew our world.

Linda Martindale
Micah Global