Tag Archives: child labour

23 October: Liberty the right of every human.

Oscar Murillo’s dehumanised migrant workers.

Yesterday we witnessed child labour in XIX Century England, but exploitation is still with us. I read recently that Garment Workers in England are still receiving no more than a fraction of the National Minimum Wage, legally established since 1999, and exploitation is rife elsewhere in the fashion industry world-wide. Here is John Wesley on slavery and justice. His first sentence sets out with great clarity why slavery is evil. Following on from that realisation, there should be action: give liberty to whom liberty is due … every child of man. The prayer that follows is also a homily that every one of us should reflect upon, for slavery, or near slavery, still exists in different forms and we all benefit from poor people’s suffering.

Liberty is the right of every human creature, as soon as he breathes the vital air; and no human law can deprive him of that right which he derives from the law of nature.

   If, therefore, you have any regard to justice, (to say nothing of mercy, nor the revealed law of God,) render unto all their due. Give liberty to whom liberty is due, that is, to every child of man, to every partaker of human nature. Let none serve you but by his own act and deed, by his own voluntary choice. Away with all whips, all chains, all compulsion! Be gentle toward all men; and see that you invariably do unto every one as you would he should do unto you.

O thou God of love, 
thou who art loving to every man, and whose mercy is over all thy works; 
thou who art the Father of the spirits of all flesh, and who art rich in mercy unto all; 
thou who hast mingled of one blood all the nations upon earth; 
have compassion upon these outcasts of men, who are trodden down as dung upon the earth! 
Arise, and help these that have no helper, whose blood is spilt upon the ground like water! 
Are not these also the work of thine own hands, the purchase of thy Son's blood? 
Stir them up to cry unto thee in the land of their captivity; and let their complaint come up before thee; 
let it enter into thy ears! 
Make even those that lead them away captive to pity them, 
and turn their captivity as the rivers in the south. 
O burst thou all their chains in sunder; more especially the chains of their sins! 
Thou Saviour of all, make them free, that they may be free indeed!

Advertisement

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Unity, Daily Reflections, Justice and Peace, Mission

22 October: Off he goes!

A Stanhope gig.

William Allingham is in the New Forest at Lymington, a small port opposite the Isle of Wight, where he is a senior customs officer. He recorded in his diary on this day in 1868.

Thursday, October 22. — Lymington. Walk to Setley, and find gypsies encamped. Coming back I overtake a little girl carrying with difficulty two bags of sand, and just as I am asking how far she is going, up drives Rev. P. F. in his gig, who offers me a lift. I say, ‘ Help this little girl with her two heavy bags,’ upon which his Reverence reddens and drives off. I carry one of the bags.

Where to start? Of course in 2022 we could be screened from the realities of life for a poor child because we would drive past in a sealed car, and not notice a thing. And we can insulate ourselves in other ways too.

‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Matthew 25:44

Leave a comment

Filed under Autumn, Daily Reflections, Mission, PLaces

2 January: Refreshment time.

tea42

A friend of one of my daughters, a Chinese scholar, once posted a picture of her with one of these cups, saying in jest, Here is N drinking tea from 14th Century Yuan porcelain, though this is a 20th Century Staffordshire adaptation of that design.

But this is about tea from Sri Lanka, not China, and the working conditions of the pickers. Pay has long been poor, schooling for the children lacking; and poor pay tempts parents to bring children to work for the few pence they can earn.

USPG’s partners are bringing schools to the children, and they are starting to attend with their parents’ encouragement. People overseas, like us, can help by buying Fair Trade tea.

Here is a prayer from Sri Lanka to go with the tea.

Even as the water falls on dry leaves, and brings out their flavour, so may your Spirit fall on us and renew us, so that we may bring refreshment and joy to others,

I’ll drink to that!

MMB

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Daily Reflections

Whose Angel Faces Smile?

We read Saint Teresa yesterday saying:

But even now it gives me a feeling of devotion to remember how early God granted me what I lost by my own fault.

This reminds me of Newman’s words:

And with the dawn, those Angel faces smile,

Which I have loved long since, and lost a while.

Whose were the angel faces smiling on Newman? I suggest we read in another place:

Unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3.

Childhood should be time for play, for loving those angel faces which smile lovingly on us. William Blake may have seen angels in London and Sussex, but even without his eyes, we can see the messengers sent to us wherever we are; flesh and blood angels though they may be. I am not sentimental about calling children angels, for they are sent to us to call us to love and respect as God’s image. Blake saw children in London oppressed, sent up chimneys, doing dangerous work for paltry pay, and not playing. We have changed some things for the better in Britain, but our children are numbered among the least happy in the world.

How can we support children? Let us get to know our children through spending time, rather than money, with them. There are many elsewhere doing dangerous work for paltry pay, missing education, stranded from families for many reasons. Please visit http://www.streetchildafrica.org.uk/ to learn what is being done to reduce the number of children on the streets in many African cities.

Leave a comment

Filed under Daily Reflections