Human Rights’ Day
Today we celebrate human rights day – and it is a bittersweet celebration. On the one hand we celebrate the fact that the constitution of our nation is one of the best and most progressive in the world, affording us the basic rights that identify and uphold the dignity of every person.
On the other hand, we remember the history of this day and the fact that our constitution was born out of great pain and unspeakable atrocities against the rights of many. We remember the victims of the Sharpville Massacre on 21 March 1960. We remember the 69 people who lost their lives fighting for their basic human rights that day… 69 families, who mourned, and a nation that was broken.
Today, we also mourn the fact that despite many advances and much progress that has been made in our country, we know that the rights of many are still trampled, still negated and still denied. Wherever oppression reigns, where hatred wins out, where greed and corruption rule, where bias remains, where violence is rife, rights are violated.
So we confess our part in denying others their rights and we determine anew as the Church and the people of God to do all we can to fight against the injustices that rob our fellow citizens in South Africa and in the Kingdom of God, of their rights. We pray for justice and peace and a world in which the dignity of each person will respected as a beloved child of God.
A HUMAN RIGHTS’ DAY PRAYER
As we celebrate Human Rights’ Day today we thank you for the rights and freedoms we enjoy.
We acknowledge and confess Lord, that there are many ways in which we disrespect, disregard and trample on the rights of others. Help us, Jesus, to see people through Your eyes and to be a voice for the voiceless; to stand against injustice, to fight against discrimination and to do all we can to make our world one in which every person’s basic human dignity and rights are upheld.
We celebrate and remember this day as we enter into Holy Week, in which we remember how you laid down all your rights, disregarded your Kingly status and chose to become like your creations to bridge the divide between humanity and God. We thank You that You died for each and every person, regardless of their social status or value in the eyes of the world because each of us is precious beyond measure in Your eyes.
Thank you for Your sacrifice, Lord. Thank you for the cross, and thank You that You rose in victory, giving us hope and life for all of eternity.
In Jesus’ Name,