OK, the first Red Session lesson is this:
1. We need to be regularly confronted by uncomfortable truth.
On Friday evening Jade informed the gathering that “Dai told me not to hold back” regarding the information that she was about to relay. And she didn’t! She gave us the full, gritty, heart-rending picture of the situation she’s ministering into. People were moved to the core and many wept. And for what it’s worth I’m really glad that Jade didn’t hold back because you can’t sugar-coat this stuff! At Red Sessions we have sought each month to pray informed prayers. Not just prayers off the back of a news letter or email (though there’s nothing wrong with those things), but prayer requests coming from the lips of a host of stirring guest speakers who have come and shared about their first hand experiences of trafficking.
So whether it’s been the trafficking and tortures of terrified Eritrean refugees, the selling of Nepalese girls into Indian brothels by their relatives, the grotesque industry of child sex tourism in Cambodia or the exploitation of prostitutes working locally in the streets and parlours of Cardiff – each month it has been painful to hear. But HOW ELSE are we going to pray into these situations and circumstances? Scaled down, sanitised reports of this global epidemic will only serve to inspire half-hearted, lethargic prayer. Perhaps it’s just me, but every time I hear of another woman being exploited, another child being raped, another man bullied into a life of servitude, I can’t be half-hearted! I can’t be complacent. Rather, my heart gets smashed to bits, my soul cries out for justice, and faith rises as I am compelled to cry out to the God of justice, mercy and grace.
To that end, I’m grateful that Red Sessions have been brutal, because human trafficking is brutal.
I’m pleased that I’ve been made uncomfortable because slavery is uncomfortable.
They say that ignorance is bliss. Well that may be true for us, but while we twiddle our thumbs in ‘blissful’ ignorance, the vulnerable are still being brutally exploited in the shadows. I’m not willing to settle for that! William Wilberforce in seeking to bring about the abolition of the slave trade in the nineteenth century was a firm believer in confronting the public and his parliamentary peers with uncomfortable truths about trafficking. Indeed he is famously quoted as saying:
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
I love that! Well in the true spirit of Wilberforce we have regularly been exposed to the savage truth of slavery. In doing so have had our eyes opened to an issue that breaks the heart of God, and we can no longer say that we never knew!
Redemption Sessions has taught us to pray with our eyes open.