A Fairtrade Easter?
With Easter just around the corner, whether you're a church leader well into your Easter Service planning or a frantic mum and dad looking for Easter holiday opportunities, no doubt some form of chocolate consumption will be on the activity list. And why not? God created cocoa, and it's great! However, when it comes to the Global Goals, if we're passionate about ending poverty by 2030, then Easter provides a great starting point. Check out Global Goal 8 & Global Goal 12, two goals that focus specifically on responsible consumption and decent work for all. What's this have to do with Easter?
Well, it’s estimated that over 2.1 million children in West Africa are employed on cocoa plantations performing backbreaking and hazardous jobs for the production of our chocolate. Some are even trafficked to bring us this pleasure. In a world where we're so far removed from such realities it can be easy to miss or ignore this injustice.
However, let's just imagine for a minute that we aren't removed. What would our response be if children from our own parish were facing this reality? If we were the pastor dealing with the grief of a parent who'd lost their child to such a trade. What would our response be if it were children in our own Sunday Schools dropping out of their school to work, or worse still, go missing? When we start to picture it in personal terms, it becomes a far more significant issue. That's why through out scripture we hear God's voice time and time again on such issues. Why? Because God's not removed. These are His children.
Here's a few examples that are worth reflecting on in the coming weeks...
Deuteronomy 24:14-15, 'You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen or one of your aliens who is in your land in your towns.'
Leviticus 15:14, 'And if you make a sale to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another.'
James 5:4, 'Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.'
Easter is a wonderful opportunity for us to declare the hope, freedom and joy of the resurrection. But, if we're to take these verses seriously, then it's critical that we declare Gods hope for new life, not only through the words we speak and the songs we sing, but by the choices we make. Choices that can usher in the resurrection reality for those we buy from. Fortunately there are lots of Fair-trade options now which seek to stand against child labour and bring Easter hope. Groups like our Goal 12 Contributors, Traidcraft. Check them out: www.traidcraft.co.uk
If this comes as a shock, or perhaps you're feeling like you've fallen short in this area and feeling guilty, it's important we start by bringing these emotions to the foot of the cross and seek Gods forgiveness. Our pursuit for justice around these issues shouldn't be driven by a sense of condemnation, but rather a passionate desire to see others know the same freedom we've experienced at the cross through Jesus. A freedom that gives life to the full. As we celebrate that reality this Easter lets do all we can to enable others around the world to celebrate this truth, not just in word, but also in deed.