July 30, 2008

William Wilberforce

Category: Communion of Saints — Micah @ 12:00 am

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Good day, and welcome to Communion of Saints from stjeromeschapel.org. I’m your host, Micah Jackson. Today is July 30th, 2008: the feast of Blessed William Wilberforce.

If you’ve ever shaken your head while considering the moral state of politics and thought, “Surely being a politician and being a Christian are incompatible,” then I suggest you look at the life of William Wilberforce and think again.

Wilberforce was elected to the British House of Commons in the year 1780. Four years later, he was converted to evangelical Christianity. At first he, like many, thought that his faith would make it impossible to serve in the House, but his friends prevailed upon him to stay on and work within the system to move forward the Kingdom of God. He agreed, though he did determine not to accept any higher office than MP, not even if he were offered membership in the House of Lords.

And work for justice he did. His most famous work, of course, was his opposition to slavery. He was able to put an end to the slave trade in England in 1807. Complete abolition didn’t come until 1833. Sadly, he didn’t live to see it happen. He died three days after the final vote was taken in Parliament, though, so he knew his fight was finally won.

Today’s Scripture reminds us that Wilberforce’s great struggle was clearly in line with the goals of God’s liberating love. Paul writes to the Galatians, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:23-29)

What an amazing story of commitment and service Wilberforce’s life is. Though he certainly was not the only powerful Abolitionist, he was among those tireless workers for justice that changed the face of the world, and brought it a few steps closer to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Let us pray: Let your continual mercy, O Lord, kindle in your Church the never-failing gift of love, that, following the example of your servant William Wilberforce, we may have grace to defend the poor, and maintain the cause of those who have no helper; for the sake of him who gave his life for us, your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thank you for listening to Communion of Saints. Please join us tomorrow at stjeromeschapel.org for the feast of Blessed Ignatius Loyola. I’m Micah Jackson. May God be with you.

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