Tag Archives: action

12 Years A Slave – My Thoughts

12 Years a Slave (rated 15 – for a reason)

These are my immediate thoughts – there may be more to come…

First to say, this film is maybe not for the faint-hearted, but if you aware of what happened to slaves, it will come as no surprise what happened.  I would put the gruesomeness level down to similar as The Passion of the Christ.

Much has been said, and probably will continue to be said about this film, by those more eloquent, or who know what they are talking about, than me.  My initial reactions as the film drew to a close are two-fold:

  • The greatest disservice we can do is to see this as history and assume that there is no longer any slavery.  There is plenty of slavery around today, including here in the UK.  Please do not think we can rest on our laurels.  If this film does anything, as well as educate about the atrocious past, it must make us look at the world we live in today – and respond.
  • Solomon was a free man.  He had that to keep him going.  If only he could get his papers, he could prove himself free, and be released.  What about those who do not have that privilege?  What hope do they have?  What are we going to do about it?  Solomon was able to find someone who could intercede on his behalf.  What about those who have no one?  Who is going to intercede for them?

The reaction to this film must not be “how awful” and to carry on with our lives. (Interestingly, someone in the cinema actually shouted out at the slave masters wife, sharing exactly what they thought about her.) The reaction must be – what can I do about this, here and now?

AND TO DO SOMETHING

Acquaint ourselves with the facts and respond.

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Strong Faith

By Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia (Taking the Plunge Together Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I think faith is one of those things that everyone thinks everyone else’s is stronger, deeper, more alive…When the truth is we’re all getting on with it as best we can, and probably someone else is thinking the same about you!

Even the apostles asked for stronger faith – and they were there, in the flesh, with Jesus…

Luke 17:5-10

The apostles said to the Lord, “Make our faith stronger!”

Jesus replied:

If you had faith no bigger than a tiny mustard seed, you could tell this mulberry tree to pull itself up, roots and all, and to plant itself in the ocean. And it would!

If your servant comes in from ploughing or from taking care of the sheep, would you say, “Welcome! Come on in and have something to eat”? No, you wouldn’t say that. You would say, “Fix me something to eat. Get ready to serve me, so I can have my meal. Then later on you can eat and drink.” Servants don’t deserve special thanks for doing what they are supposed to do. 10 And that’s how it should be with you. When you’ve done all you should, then say, “We are merely servants, and we have simply done our duty.”

Jesus tells some strange stories.  Some that appear at first glance to be quite heartless.  This seems quite hard on the servants – but that was their job.  In whatever our employment is, we expect to be given one task and another and another.  We have a contract, there are expectations, a job to be done.  You would not expect the MD to invite you in for coffee and a sit down every time you have completed one of your tasks.  You just get on with the job you are employed to do.

Presumably this little tale is to explain about faith, and getting stronger faith.  And Jesus is saying

Just get on with it!

Is having a stronger faith something God can do for us?  Or something we get by doing stuff that requires faith?  The more we use, the more we find we’ll have.  Using faith grows faith.  If we sit around waiting to have enough faith, we’ll never do anything, if we go out and do something, we may be surprised how much faith we have.  We can stay home and pray for it – or get out and do it.

This passage follows on from the part about “how many times should I forgive my brother?”  Perhaps knowing they need more faith comes from Jesus’ response to that.  And in itself perhaps that is a prime example of doing not thinking.  If we start thinking about how we can forgive someone, we will probably never get on with it.  If we just do it, we might discover it is so much easier than we thought.

I was tempted to add a song praying for faith – but that seems at odds to what I’m saying…

So, instead I’ve gone for this

Lord,
sometimes it is not easy to understand the stories Jesus told.
we were not there,
we can’t see the look on his face,
or where they were at the time.

But we know we all long for more faith,
we want to know you more,
serve you better,
be sure of the way you’re calling us

– but sometimes we just have step out in faith
to trust you
and what we know of you.

So Lord,
as I long for more faith,
may I step out in your faith,
may I work with what I already know of you,
know that you won’t abandon me,
but love me.

Love is…

… more than an emotion, more than a warm feeling.

Love has to be an action.  To love, is to do something about it.

This is what Paul points us to:

Romans 12:9-21

New International Version (NIV)

Love in Action

 9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.Do not be conceited.

 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Saying we love, is not enough.  It involves doing something about it.

Love involves honouring, patience, faithfulness and blessing.  It means being with someone – truly being there.  It means putting aside pride and seeking harmony.  Love means not looking for revenge, but peace. Love means feeding the hungry.

This is love God’s way.

We can say we love, but would anyone notice that love, if we didn’t mention it?

Lord help me to love

your way;

help me to love

that people see you;

help me to love

in and through you