• Rev. John Martin

Fair Trade Fortnight 2020

Fair Trade Fortnight 7th to 20th August, 2020

Caring about social justice is a fundamental expression of our Christian faith in action. It reflects God’s heart for the poor, the oppressed, the fatherless, the widows and the orphans. Our world today is filled with unfair practices in global trade. Many of what we consume, wear and decorate our homes are made by poorer nations made by struggling communities and even slavery. Fair trade principles provide the guidance to how products should be sourced, produced and distributed fairly.

Fair Trade Fortnight gives churches an opportunity to act out in faith and affirm their commitment to use and promote Fair Trade products both in the life of the congregation and by individual members.


Included are:

· Brief reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary readings for the two Sundays of Fairtrade Fortnight

· Prayers which might be helpful for formulating your Community’s prayers

· Some useful links.

Feel free to use these. A simple acknowledgment of the Fair Trade Association would be appreciated.

Lectionary Reading Reflections.

August 9, 2020 Pentecost 10

First Reading Genesis 37:1-4,12-28

An unwise father, a highly intelligent young son, the son of the favoured wife, Rachel, jealous and greedy old brothers.

Result: Joseph sold into slavery. Note how the brothers justify their act.

Psalm Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b

The Psalm summarises the story and the happy outcome.

Second Reading Romans 10:5-15

Romans reminds us that salvation through Christ is for all.

Gospel Matthew 14:22-33

The Gospel presents several themes:

The example of Jesus going to the lonely place to pray.

Tom Wright sees the disciples in the boat as a picture of us in the world. Likening us to the disciples, professional fishermen, making little headway in the storm in spite of their exposure to the power of Jesus. ‘We too, in our world, have discovered so much, learned so much, invented so much, and yet still without power to do many of the things that really matter. We have invented wonderful machines for making war, yet nobody has found one that will make peace. We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t put food into hungry stomachs. We can listen to the songs the whales sing on the ocean floor, but we can’t hear the crying of human souls in the next street’. (Matthew for Everyone, p 190)

In all our activism, whether it be over environmental matters, refugee and asylum seekers or, during this fortnight the justice issues of fair wages and conditions and freedom from slavery that lie behind our everyday purchase, the message of these verses is ‘faith’. We too will falter like Peter if we take our eyes of Jesus. Which brings us back to encountering God though Jesus in the lonely place.



Prayer

Loving God, during this time of pandemic, it is easy for us to panic.

How can I and the ones I love be kept safe?

What of those who have lost their jobs or hours have been reduced?

How will we manage?

We want to protect Australian jobs and cry ‘Buy Australian!’

Yes, but what of people overseas?

People whose meagre employment has dried up and they are left in the boat at the mercy of the wind and waves of economic forces.

People without government financial support to prevent complete sinking.

We may be facing physical isolation from countries, from states, from each other but we’re never spiritually isolated.

Help us, like Jesus, to draw aside to the lonely place where we can focus on You.

What are You saying to us, to me, in the face of pandemic and economic crisis?

Lord help me to think of the people behind the packets and boxes and clothing racks of my purchases. And not simply as “is this a bargain for me?”

Give us the joy of knowing that we are being fair in the prices we pay.

Sadly, sometimes we can see a bit of Joseph’s older brothers in us. Looking for the best price, even though we may not be thinking we are as evil as they were. Yet, unseen, behind the products we purchase might be slavery, trafficking, less than a living wage and environmental vandalism.

Lord Jesus,

Give us the faith which does not take our eyes off you.

Give us the faith that resists the strong wind of the economic expediency of this world

Give us the faith to see all people as our neighbours and worthy of fair treatment and freedom.

Lord Jesus,

Above all help us to see all the world’s people as our companions in the boat of life on the stormy seas.

Help us to seek fair ways of sharing all that you give with our fellow passengers.

*******

During this Fair Trade Fortnight, we are reminded that much of what happens in this world is not fair.

Just as Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous and greedy brothers, people, motivated by the greed for money are selling women, children and men into slavery.

You call us to the quiet place, the mountaintop, to be still with you.

It is there in the stillness that we hear the voices of those struggling in the boat whether it be church or world.

Amidst the turbulence of life help us to have eyes of faith, eyes fixed on Jesus.

August 16, 2020 Pentecost 11

First Reading Genesis 45:1-15

The selfish, cruel, greedy act of last week’s reading has turned out exceptionally well for Joseph and his family. Yet, at this moment, for many people sold into the servitude of prostitution, bonded labour or simply, slavery, the outcome is not so good.

Psalm Psalm 133

Happy families are wonderful. The reality is that today, children are sold to reduce the number of mouths to feed. Children are forced into dangerous work, rather than attend school. Misery is the lot for many families in this world.

And Domestic Violence seems to find no solution.

Second Reading Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32

All people, Jews and Gentiles receive God’s mercy.

Gospel Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28

Is a world where all the world’s workers receive fair wages and work in good conditions ever going to be a reality? Will slavery ever really end? Against all odds the Canaanite woman knew two things. She knew that Jesus was able to heal her demon-possessed daughter and she knew that Jesus was ministering primarily to the Jews. In addition, she had an inkling that the message of Jesus was not just for Jews, but for Gentiles who were often sneered at as dogs. That time for all nations would come after Easter. (Matthew 29:19) But she was persistent and kept calling out. The healing Jesus offers in response to her great faith, perhaps in contrast to Peter’s faltering faith in last week’s Gospel reading, is an indication that the power of the Gospel will be for all people. Like the shrieking voice of the Canaanite woman the voices of the poor of the world are in our ears. Like the disciples we would want to send them away. We have enough of our own problems. Tom Wright uses William Wilberforce and the abolition of slavery as an example of ‘great faith’ (Matthew for Everyone, p 201) Sadly with an estimated 40 million slaves + 152 million child labourers in the world today abolition is not complete. (ILO 2017). The voice of the Canaanite woman still echoes.

Prayer

Loving Lord Jesus,

We thank you that the Good News of your love and justice is for all people.

Forgive us that we, like the disciples, often muffle the cries of the needy,

Smothering them to silence with our own problems.

The cry of the downtrodden have reached our ears.

We cannot pretend that they have not.

Just as Jesus had the power to heal the girl, we have the power to right economic injustices in the world.

In Fair Trade Fortnight help us to think about the people in the supply chain behind the goods we buy.

Were they paid a fair and living wage? Did they work in good, healthy conditions?

Help us to be like Jesus, hearing the cries of the poor

and not like the disciples, smothering their cries.

Go deeper in Fair Trade?

How about showing your individual support by becoming a Friend of the Fair Trade Association? Information and application form (plus lots of other helpful stuff) are on the FTAANZ website:

https://www.fta.org.au/

Also on this website under ‘Get Involved’ ‘Communities’ you will find info on how your Church can become a Fair Trade Faith Group.

Fair Trade Association Shopping Guide. Useful information and list of Fair Trade businesses towards the back:

https://fairtradeassociation.cmail20.com/t/t-l-nuthko-cttthadi-t/

Fairtrade Australia for quiz, toolkit and other helpful stuff:

https://campaigns.fairtrade.com.au/fairtradefortnight2020

Click link to see how Covid 19 is affecting Fairtrade.

https://campaigns.fairtrade.com.au/covid19fairtradeau

Fairtrade Fortnight in the UK is held during Lent each year. This link will take you to the homepage of the Fairtrade Foundation. Scroll down to ‘Fair Trade Fortnight Resource Pack’ for 2020

https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/Resources-Library/Fairtrade%20Fortnight%202020/Fortnight%202020%20Assets

Baptist World Aid. Ethical Fashion Guide for 2020 is different:

https://baptistworldaid.org.au/resources/2019-ethical-fashion-guide/

Be Slavery Free. At the leading edge of the Modern Slavery Act in Australia.

https://beslaveryfree.com/

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