Thursday, Decebmer 10, 2015
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Today has been designated by the United Nations as Human Rights Day. The following is from www.un.org
"Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.
This year's Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966.
The two Covenants, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights, setting out the civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings.
"Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always." aims to promote and raise awareness of the two Covenants on their 50th anniversary. The year-long campaign revolves around the theme of rights and freedoms -- freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear -- which underpin the International Bill of Human Rights and are as relevant today as they were when the Covenants were adopted 50 years ago."
It is this campaign's attempt to provide all humankind "freedom from fear" that caught my attention. With all of the violence and hatred in the world today, a true sense of being free from all fear seems nearly impossible. Not that we all walk around constantly looking over our shoulders, but we are now constantly being told, particularly in large public venues, to "Be aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious behavior." Even with this command tucked potentially out of sight in the back corners of our consciousness, it still provokes at least a twinge of fear within us. Yet, God tells us, "Fear not." "Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you." I suspect that I am not alone in wondering what the help looks like and what the grip feels like as there are moments when we are struck with the reality that at any moment we may become a helpless target.
in a society where children are gunned down in their elementary school classrooms, drivers are shot for going too fast or too slow, young people are killed while enjoying a concert or a sporting match, workers are injured and murdered while trying to do good in their small corner of the world, it is hard to think about living a life completely free of fear, even with God's promise of keeping a firm grip on us. Our comfort comes in the knowledge that wherever we find ourselves, God is there with us. Though admittedly, as humans, it is sometimes hard for us to appreciate and find consolation in that knowledge when we find ourselves in the midst of tragedy or moments of gripping fear.
As we journey through this season of Advent awaiting the new life given to us in the birth of the Christ-child, let us keep our eyes on a longer journey, the one that will take us to the place and life where we are all free, equal, and loved.
"Comfort, comfort now my people; Speak of peace so says our God. Comfort those who sit in darkness, mourning under sorrows load. Cry out to Jerusalem of the peace that waits for them; tell her that her sins I cover and her warfare now is over." Amen
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