A Prayer for Human Rights Day

*using the words of the prophet Isaiah (chapter 40) for a congregational response*

O Lord who calls us into the Way of Right Living
we remember this day the rights we’ve been given –
rights hard fought for by those who have gone before
through terrible suffering, oppression and war;
rights taught in our classrooms and upheld by our law;
rights that so many are still longing for.

For those without freedom,
working for little or no wage,
treated as outcasts,
imprisoned, enslaved:
clear a path in the desert,
level the rough ground,
move mountains and valleys,
til Your love abounds.

For those who are tortured,
exiled, and killed,
for someone’s sick pleasure
or cheap power thrill:
clear a path in the desert,
level the rough ground,
move mountains and valleys,
til Your love abounds.

For those seeking asylum
and fleeing in fear
to whom no place is offered –
especially not here:
clear a path in the desert,
level the rough ground,
move mountains and valleys,
til Your love abounds.

For those without work
or shelter or food,
Who we label as “lazy”
or “up to no good,”
clear a path in the desert,
level the rough ground,
move mountains and valleys,
til Your love abounds.

Where women are objects
And children are things
And the “love” of a man
just bruises and stings:
clear a path in the desert,
level the rough ground,
move mountains and valleys,
til Your love abounds.

For those different from us
in conscience, colour and creed
who we brand as the “Other”
and ignore in their need:
clear a path in the desert,
level the rough ground,
move mountains and valleys,
til Your love abounds.

Created in Your image,
we’re all made to be free;
the God-light wrapped up
in our frail dignity:
clear a path in the desert,
level the rough ground,
move mountains and valleys,
til Your love abounds. 

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