Prayer

Day 3: Upholding Human Dignity

19/01/2018 12:00 pm

Starting Point
Our image of a slave is often of someone wearing iron chains and being forced to work against their will. But there are other forms of enslavement where the chains may be less visible. Pornography, especially via the internet, is an assault on human dignity, and, because it commodifies the human person, it is as destructive as slavery, where women, children and young people can be the first victims. As Christians we are called to uphold human dignity, recognize God’s gift to sexuality and to work against those things that damage that dignity and gift.

Readings

Exodus 3.4-10 God frees those who are in human bondage
Psalm 24.1-6 Lord, we are the people who see your face
1 Corinthians 6.9-20 Therefore glorify God in your body
Matthew 18.1-7 Woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!

Prayer

God of beauty,
You made us in your image
Endowed us with a loveliness
Little lower than the angels’.
Save us from the exploitation
Of each other’s bodies.
For the sake of Christ,
Who became flesh and reigns in glory.
Teach us that
Our bodies are sacraments of grace,
And vessels of your beauty.
Amen.

Reflection

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
the saying goes;
but what if those who look on
are not interested in beauty?

A rose by any other name
can still be pruned
too early,
before it is in bloom;
petals not allowed to unfurl as yet
fall between the weeds that would choke.

Beauty held
captive,
by the hand that wants only for itself.
Hands can be washed,
but the stain of shame
is not so easily removed.

Beauty held
tenderly;
precious.
Tears wiped away,
tables turned
in our temples;
where is God’s hand
in all of this?

Question

  1. What do the words ‘pornography’ and ‘exploitation’ evoke for you?
  2. How do the internet, social media and other forms of modern technology liberate or enslave us?
  3. How in the modern world might we uphold human dignity?