On the 21st October, 1854, a young woman named Florence Nightingale left England for Crimea, where a war was raging that was claiming lives on both sides in astonishing numbers and where the care for wounded and dying was almost non-existent. Her cohort of nurses included fifteen nuns, and a number of other women from different classes and backgrounds who shared Nightingale's conviction that nursing was call from God on their lives. Her contemporaries included the extraordinary Mary Seacole, who set up a recuperation post behind the lines in Crimea, because she was refused the right to travel to a British field hospital because of her Jamaican heritage.
Women behind the lines found themselves working in desperately under-resources field hospitals offering what help they could to the men who were injured. Over 4,000 still died in the first winter they were posted, but Florence Nightingale's position of some influence (as the daughter of a prominent and wealthy family) allowed her to make recommendations and resource training on her return to England that has gone on to save countless hundreds of thousands of lives since.
Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole stand as part of those in the course of human history who have heeded God's call to care for humanity above and beyond their own needs. We could name the martyred British nurse Edith Cavell (who was shot for saving the lives of soldiers without reference to nationality or uniform), or Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. We could think of families like the ten Boom family who found themselves in concentration camps for hiding Jewish people. We could think of David Kato, who died speaking out for LGBT rights in Uganda.
In their tradition and honour, MCC set up the Global Justice Institute, which has been working for human rights around the world for ten years. They have small budget, and a big heart. They can be found around the world fighting in some of the most dangerous places for LGBT+ people and our allies. Their goal is not to impose their structures and ideas on local people, but to empower them to work for themselves. Please join us in prayer for them, and give what you can in this week's offering. If you would like to give online, or set up a regular offering to the GJI, you can do so here.
God is a God of forgiveness, who pardons our injustices to one another. Let us be a part of bringing God's new realm of justice and peace by seeking to correct what injustices we can see.
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