31: Release captives #Lent2021

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18-19)

I particularly identify with Luke 4:18-19 and have experienced this as a call on my life. From the age of 15 I wanted to be a lawyer to help people and because I was fascinated by institutions. I started a theology degree part time during the last year of Law School and continued it over the next 8 years while I started work as a lawyer. A couple of years into my career I was asked to help in a case to assist a victim of abuse to seek justice from an institution.

Then there was a second case and then another and another – I thought the issue would be dealt with in a year or two, but now 25 years later I have been involved in about 400 cases, a Parliamentary Inquiry, a Royal Commission, a Charitable Foundation and a Child Safety Charity and sadly new cases are still coming forward.

Parallel to doing this type of work, I studied a major in Pastoral Care and was able to reflect theologically on the mediation model I was using in my work life to help victim survivors to seek justice and with their healing and recovery.

It took me many years as a literalist to see that good news for the poor, recovery of sight for the blind, and freedom for the prisoners did not mean I had to be a preacher, a doctor or work in prison ministry. I learned to see them as metaphors for the experiences of victim survivors.

I have experienced this small work for and towards justice as a way for me to witness to Christ – to be a little bit like Jesus advocating for and comforting people and standing with and witnessing to the experience and pain and hopes of victim survivors.

I am not Jesus and have limited resources, true justice is not achieved – I need to settle for some steps of accountability on the way to justice and leave the rest up to God. I cannot do this alone – it needs other lawyers and therapists and advocates and support services working holistically in the field, other lawyers in my firm enabling me to do the work, other clients to help fund the pro bono work, and the support of family and friends to hold me as I experience vicarious trauma in the field. And I need prayer both from me and for me. Ω

Reflect: How do you understand Jesus’ mission statement? How does it take shape in your life? Pray about it.

#Lent2021. Real People, Real Stories: 40 Readings for Lent, Sanctuary, 2021. Image credit: Rachel Coyne on Unsplash.

What is this? Lent is the 40 days, excluding Sundays, before Easter. Traditionally it is a time of intense reflection and pilgrimage. To help you on this journey, Sanctuary has put together 40 stories from people both within and beyond the congregation, with associated questions for reflection and prayer. A reading will be uploaded every day of Lent.

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