Just after 7:30 p.m. last night, more than 200 people gathered at First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley. We sang old songs from our stories, joining voices in There Is a Balm in Gilead and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. We shared stories and heard the Good News proclaimed in community. We shared bread & water as a celebration of the faith in Jesus that unites us.
We were free to do this. We are not slaves - we are not for sale.
But at this very moment, there are 27 million people on this tiny planet who are owned by someone else. There are 27 million slaves. There are 27 million reasons stand up & scream for freedom & justice.
So we gathered and soaked up David Batstone's dream of a world where no one is for sale. Mark Labberton was kind enough to extend the hospitality of First Pres for this gathering. Kristen Rudd shared her glorious confession and took photos (available for sale here). Justin Dillion sang his heart-wrenching song Baby Blue and a searing cover of Redemption Song. And 2 people who have no online presence - Mark Wexler & Patti Nicholson - were the glue that made everything come together.
It was really wonderful - here's an sense of the evening (the order for worship is below):
But when I woke up this morning, it stuck in my soul that 27 million fellow creatures of God are enslaved today. More than half of all slaves today are under the age of 18, children. People bought & sold for as little as $20 US, people forced to kill and trained for sex. People who are someone's daughter or son, someone's husband or wife.
Whether we call it trafficking, bonded labor, forced labor, or sex slavery, it exists: globally, nationally, and locally.
So today I stand up & scream for freedom & justice:
You are not alone
You are not for sale
Slavery must finally end
Please do something to make slavery end - join the not for sale campaign.