Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

December 9, 2018: The Sound of a Promise Kept

From Sandra Rooney


Terrible things are happening to people in our communities and around the world. Yet there are those who have lived those situations and are courageously stepping up, speaking up and seeking change.


Just weeks ago, Desmond Tutu presented the 2018 International Children’s Peace Prize to survivors of the deadly shooting in March in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 students and teachers dead. In the aftermath of the shooting, Stoneman Douglas High School students organized March for Our Lives and went to Washington to rally for stricter gun laws in the U.S. That event was just one of hundreds planned across the country, the students calling for a ban on assault rifles and universal background checks. In response, more than 25 states, including Florida, have passed legislation supporting the organization.


The students inspired thousands to attend their Washington, D.C., march and last summer they helped register young voters and spoke about gun violent in 80 communities and 24 states. It’s also worth noting that the students did not back down when the National Rifle Association mocked them, claiming they were being manipulated by millionaires and Hollywood types, using them to attack the Second Amendment. The students responded by conducting media interviews and they stood up to lawmakers about gun reform and galvanized supporters all across the country. In presenting the award to the organizers, Tutu described March for Our lives as one of the most significant youth-led mass movements in living memory and called its founders “true change-makers.”


Earlier this fall, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was announced. It went to Nadia Murad, 25, who has become the voice and face of women who survived sexual violence by the Islamic State; and to Dr. Denis Mukwege, 63, who has treated thousands of women who were victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, most of the abuses committed during the country’s long civil war that has cost more than six million Congolese lives. This year marks a decade since the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1820, which determined that the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict is both a war crime and a threat to international peace and security. Both laureates have helped give greater visibility to war-time sexual violence, so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions.


Murad is a member of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq, where she lived with her family. She is just one of an estimated 3,000 Yazidi girls and women who were victims of rape and other abuses by the Islamic State army. Murad has refused to accept the social codes require women to remain silent and ashamed of the abuses they suffered. As difficult as it has been for her, she has spoken about her own suffering and on behalf of other victims.


Explore…Luke 1:68–79

  • What truths from from Zechariah’s prophecy might we see in today’s world?
  • What are some of the challenges from which we must not turn away?
  • Who is offering hope in the face of terrible circumstances?



God of our joys and our sorrows, our triumphs and our failures, may we listen to the call to step out of our comfort zones, to speak out against complacency, to challenge injustice, to shine a light in the darkness. Amen.


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