Headlines from the New York Times for Friday, July 14, 2017
The Spirit of Liu Xiaobo
How Liu Xiaobo died says a lot about modern China and the fears of modern Chinese leaders. The government in Beijing controls a nuclear weapons arsenal and throws its weight around in international affairs. Yet it was afraid to hear the democratic ideas advocated at great cost by a courageous man of conscience.
In 2009, Mr. Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison, and even after he learned he had liver cancer in May, Chinese authorities refused to let him leave the country for treatment. So one of China’s most famous dissidents died on Thursday under guard in a Chinese hospital at age 61. He was his country’s only Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
As is common in an increasingly repressive China, Mr. Liu was punished not for a crime, but for giving voice to the most basic human yearnings. In 2008, he was a leader in drafting Charter 08, a constitutional reform manifesto that advocated respect for “universal values shared by all humankind,” including human rights, equality, freedom, democracy and the rule of law. The charter endorsed direct elections, judicial independence and an end to Communist Party dominance, and though it was on the Internet only briefly before censors pulled it, it garnered 10,000 signatures.
The government accused Mr. Liu of “inciting subversion of state power,” but in fact the life of this multi-talented scholar, writer, poet and social commentator was devoted to peaceful political change. During the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, he staged a hunger strike, then negotiated a peaceful retreat of student demonstrators as thousands of soldiers stood by with rifles.
Readings from Sermon on the Mount for Friday, July 14, 2017
Matthew 5.5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
Meek is not weak. We have a tragic understanding of meekness. We view meek people as soft or victims of circumstances.
The Bible teaches that meek people are pliable in the hands of God, not soft or victims. Their mind and will is sensitive to God’s direction. When God speaks, they are ready to respond.
The proud, self-sufficient, know-it-all types of the world resist God and follow their own pathway.
Pray today for God-given meekness, a sensitivity to God and his direction for life.
Prayers for Friday, July 14, 2017
Dear God, today we ask that you give us true meekness, a sensitivity to you and to your directions for life.