Date: July 17, 2021
‘Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.’ (Psalm 42:5)
Many of us will relate to the words of lament we read in the psalms. It is comforting to know that we can come to God with our true feelings in times of pain. David’s example also teaches us to speak truth to our souls, to remind ourselves of the living hope we have in Jesus, even through sadness.
This week, we share the anger and grief of many following the death of Indian human rights defender Father Stan Swamy.
Father Swamy devoted his entire life to championing the cause of the marginalised and spent decades speaking out for the rights of tribal communities in India’s Jharkand state.
After being arrested without proper evidence on 8 October 2020, Father Swamy’s ill health deteriorated further. Yet his bail pleas on medical grounds were repeatedly denied.
The 84-year-old priest continued to suffer cruel violations in prison – even being refused a sipper to help him drink water – until he contracted COVID-19 in June and was admitted to a private hospital. He passed away as a result of cardiac arrest on 5 July, while still in judicial custody.
It is deeply sad that a life so dedicated to the rights of others should end with such injustice. It is also a reminder that shocking violations of basic human rights remain a regular occurrence in India.
As we cry out for justice and pray comfort over his loved ones, let’s also remember his tireless advocacy and give thanks for all he achieved for indigenous communities.
In summary, please pray:
- Giving thanks that Father Swamy loved and faithfully served God throughout his life.
- That his death would not be in vain and that his life would inspire many more people to fearlessly stand up for justice in India.
- For the presence of the Holy Spirit to comfort Father Swamy’s loved ones and supporters.
- For increased pressure on the Indian government to work towards creating a nation where everyone is truly free to believe.