For the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British empire, 25th March 2007
Jesus said, ‘If you stand by my teaching, you are truly my disciples; you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.’ (John 8: 31-32)
God of truth, help us to know the truth that sets us free.
On this bicentenary of the slave trade’s abolition, we remember
the generations of the unfree; the slaves who were captured and
transported, bought and sold.
We feel deep grief and shame at what they suffered; deep sorrow
that so many were never set free and died in servitude.
But we give thanks that your truth did its work in human hearts:
the truth of love, the truth of compassion, the truth of justice;
the truth of neighbourliness to all, the truth that none can truly
be the property of another.
The truth did its work and set the captives free, turning a
dishonoured civilization against slavery. First the slave trade,
then slavery itself were swept away by the working of your
truth in human hearts.
For the abolitionists of every race and nation we give thanks.
But there is another slavery, the slavery of the human spirit
to greed and selfishness, arrogance and self-righteousness,
cruelty, hatred, and indifference to another’s pain.
This is the hidden slavery that blights the world still.
God of love, lift from us the shackles of falsehood’s inward slavery,
that we might better lift from others those chains more easily felt
We ask this in the name and spirit of Jesus,
teacher of the truth that sets us free. Amen.
Cliff Reed, 20th March 2007
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