Submitted by Jan on Tue, 14/07/2015 – 12:21
Year B (2014-2015)
Bible Book: 2 Samuel
Verse: 1 – 14
We are called to act with Prophetic Leadership to promote women human rights:
To end child marriage and to protect girls in marriage and teenager mothers.
In Africa and many parts of the world over 15 million girls are married below age 18 annually. Child, early and forced marriage constitutes a serious threat to multiple aspects of the physical and psychological health of women and girls, especially to their sexual and reproductive health, placing them at risk of unintended pregnancy, maternal mortality and morbidity, obstetric fistula and HIV/AIDS, as well as increasing vulnerability to all forms of violence. It denies these girls a bright future and diminishes their hope for a better life, as they lack equal access to quality services such as education, shelter and sexual and reproductive health-care services, HIV prevention and treatment.
In this week’s reading, (2 Samuel 1 -14) God promises David that He will raise him up and sustain him, but He also calls him to act as a king who reigns in justice and with righteousness, ensuring that all who live under his rule are protected, corrected in love and treated with kindness, just as the Lord has treated him.
As adult Christians, who have experienced the mercy and kindness of our Lord, we too are called to protect these girls and young women, to restore their hope, especially for those who are HIV positive and victims of physical and sexual abuse. Often we forget how far the Lord has raised us and we judge and exclude these girls and young women from basic services, such as shelter, education and health care. We follow moral codes when considering these girls that our own lives would fail.
I believe this passage calls all of us, young and old, to open our hearts and be attentive to their needs. Like David we are called to be compassionate and caring, and to engage in advocacy for the human rights of these girls. We should also commit to providing practical support, pay for housing and fees and ensure that they have the means to fulfil their dreams to be renewed as David was. These young women are caught in the tension between faith, religion and culture and frequently culture prevails. Culture denies that they are part of the body of Christ, which, we are told, is defined by truth and love. These are values that adult Christians are called to practice when responding to these vulnerable children.
In advocacy we must “hold our leaders’ feet to the fire” when they condemn them as sinners and deny them access to shelter, sexuality education and access to health care, simply because they are teenage mothers and living with HIV.
To think about:
How can we as men and women of faith, young and old, act to eliminate this practice of child marriage in a generation?
How can we advocate for the inclusion of comprehensive sexuality education and access to youth friendly services in programmes for girls in marriage and those who, because of poverty or other situations, are in relationships that coerce them to be sexually active, as issues of justice and dignity and healing of the body of Christ?
Written By: Hendrica Okondo, Global Programme Manager SRHR & HIV, YWCA
Author: Okondo H (Ms)