Friday, December 28, 2007

The Feast of the Holy Innocents

I want to share with you something Simon Kershaw said today on the Thinking Anglicans site:

The young boys in the story [of Herod slaughering the innocents] know nothing of Jesus, nor indeed of the politics and powers of this world. They cannot by any stretch of historical or theological imagination be described as Christians. Just babies or toddlers with a few words, they are the epitome of powerlessness and vulnerability, still dependent on others for all their needs. Primarily they depend upon their parents, but secondarily they depend on their neighbours, and on the earthly powers-that-be for protection from the evils and disasters that can strike at any time.

And despite their ignorance of Jesus, the Church has from ancient times commemorated them: a reminder that God’s love is for all; a reminder of the sufferings endured by so many; and a reminder of our responsibilities towards those who depend upon us, and those who are weaker than we are. And a reminder too of the need to hold the powerful to account, and to ensure, so far as we are able, that they too remember their responsibilities to the weak and powerless, and not abuse their power for their own ends.

There are many ways we can look at how the slaughter of the innocents we observe today continues to be carrried out in our world but I want to focus on child labor. Do we realize how many of the cheap goods we buy (almost all of which are made overseas) are actually produced by children - sometimes under horrific conditions? Take a look at a summary of the problem:

About 246 million children ages 5 to 17 worldwide are involved in child labour - about 1 out of every 6 children in the world. Nearly three-quarters of the world's child labourers, about 180 million children, are exposed to the worst forms of child labour - that is, work that is hazardous for children. Some 110 million children in hazardous work are under age 15. Some estimated 8.4 million children are trapped in the most abhorrent forms of child labour - slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, prostitution, pornography and other such activities.

Let us pray for these little ones and do what we can to support those organizations working to alleviate the suffering of children world-wide. Whatever we do or don't do, let us at least not be ignorant.

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