Some people in our modern secular society have written off the church
as irrelevant. What do you think the church has to offer?
The Let My People Go programme was set up by the Church of North India to support marginalised Dalit and tribal communities. It receives support from USPG.
India’s Dalit and tribal peoples – the so-called untouchables – face many
hardships due to extreme poverty.
Opportunities for employment and education are scarce and the places
they live are prone to flooding and drought, which it seems are becoming
Little wonder many of these people fall victim to unscrupulous landlords,
businessmen and money-lenders. As a result, whole communities have
become debt slaves, working in appalling conditions as farm labourer, domestic helps or brick kiln labourers.
The Let My People Go (LMPG) programme is focused on releasing
people from the soul-destroying plight of bonded labour.
Baljinder and her husband, in Dhanua village in Punjab, were working for their landlord as a domestic help and a farm labourer respectively. They were paid very little and had little hope of freedom because they owed their landlord a great deal in rent and loans taken out to buy food.
The last straw came when the landlord suggested taking her eldest son out of school so he could work for him to help repay the family debt. Baljinder was determined her children should have a better future.
Happily, she learned there was a LMPG self-help group in her village. After joining, she learned many things, including how to grow and process date palm fruit as a snack, which she did as a small business.
The business took off and, one year later, Baljinder and her husband were able to pay off their debts. They had also saved up enough to buy an auto-rickshaw to start a taxi service. With their increased income, they have been able to keep their children in school.
Baljinder said: ‘I am thankful to God for this opportunity that was provided to me.’
They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?”
And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.”
Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
Then he sent him away to his home, saying, “Do not even go into the village.”
Take a moment to settle.
Adjust your posture so that you feel relaxed but alert.
Close your eyes if you feel comfortable to do so.
Give yourself permission to be still and open to God’s presence.
Try to let go of the ‘chattering mind’ – it may help to focus your attention on your breath and the sensation of air flowing in and out of your nostrils – knowing God is with you.
Know that your life is in God and God’s life is in you.
Continue to abide in God’s presence.
Know in your heart that you are loved and accepted by God exactly as you are.
God understands your hopes and your struggles – and delights in you.
There is always hope. The resurrection is testimony that…
no matter our circumstances, no matter how rejected, neglected or misunderstood, whatever we have said or done to ourselves or others, there is always hope.
Allow the following truths to sink into the deepest part of your being:
Holy God, thank you that your prophetic voice brings resurrection
to people, churches, communities, even Creation itself.
Stir up in us your prophetic voice, that we may go out
and proclaim your good news to the world around us.