15th June

Asia Bibi is a Christian woman from Pakistan who was wrongly accused of blasphemy, asia bibisentenced to death, detained since 2010, and now awaiting a final judgment. If you would like to know more and sign an online petition on her behalf, go to the bottom of this blog.

Today’s gospel is about living without pretence, esp when we pray, fast and give alms (Matt 6:1-6, 16-18). The following Premier Christian Media reflection by Dr Micha Jazz is related to this theme. It is based on Genesis 3:8-10 and the immediate aftermath of Adam and Eve’s Original Sin: Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”  He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

The benefit of hindsight is a wonderful gift. As I reflect upon my many years I can begin to see how I continually fought to manage my own environment. I wanted to control what happened in my life, yet I also presented as someone who was laid back and relaxed. I never viewed myself as defensive, but with hindsight I see that I was. Living from so defensive a position, my comments were often barbed, and like Adam I answered questions according to what I heard, not necessarily responding to what was being asked.

God presents Adam with the most foundational question any one of us can face: ‘Where are you?’ It is the core question in God’s relationship with each one of us.

The simple response is, ‘I’m here.’ However, like Adam we often answer from the confusion of our own wrongdoing and give ourselves away. By acknowledging fear, Adam reveals an emotion he had never experienced with God before. By describing himself as naked, he unwittingly reveals a self-awareness he has not previously known. In hiding he has explored a means of avoiding issues in preference to dealing with them.

Fear is only experienced when we face a threat or danger that we don’t know how to master. As a young man I feared looking stupid or out of control, I feared being wrong, I feared messing up. That was crazy, for all these things are part of the process of growing up. However, I was self-aware of how exposed I would feel if any of these fears were realised.

From his response, God knew that Adam was more interested in debate than submission. It took me years to accept and live with my own frailty. Eventually I stopped trying to pretend to be someone I wasn’t or to attempt to achieve things in the vain hope that they would gave me stature and credibility. Like Adam I too had to learn to live in a fallen world in pursuit of a true knowledge of God and our unique relationship with him.

QUESTION: In response to God’s question, ‘Where are you?’, what reply will you make?

PRAYER: Lord, you made me and you know me. I don’t want to try to hide from you or be afraid.

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The dramatic situation of Asia Bibi (the Christian woman from Pakistan who was wrongly accused of blasphemy, sentenced to death, detained since 2010, and now awaiting a final judgment) may have arrived at a significant turning point.

Right now, there is a very good possibility that the European Parliament could officially call for Asia Bibi’s release from prison, as well as for the respect of religious freedom in Pakistan, and elsewhere.

Mr Antonio Tajani, MEP, has issued a Written Declaration on the case of Asia Bibi. And, if an absolute majority of MEPs simply sign the Declaration, it will be an official invitation to the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, to engage on the case of Asia Bibi, and, in general, to consider the promotion of religious freedom measures.

Please sign this significant petition:

http://www.citizengo.org/en/pr/35107-new-way-save-asia-bibi

Additionally, it will invite the European Union to block, through diplomatic means and through clauses in agreements with other countries, the proliferation of so-called “anti-blasphemy laws”, like the one which was used to sentence Asia Bibi.

The document, sponsored by MEPs from various political groups and countries, has already garnered numerous signatures. But, 25th August is the DEADLINE for collecting the signatures of an absolute majority of MEPs.

As described in our alert a few months ago, the situation for Christians in Pakistan has recently become more difficult. In fact, Asia Bibi has received new threats, and, unfortunately, even though an Appellate Court ruled that Asia Bibi should get a new trial, that trial date seems increasingly uncertain.

Please sign now, to help free Asia Bibi:

Yours faithfully,

Scott Schittl and the whole team at CitizenGO

 

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