From the very beginning human beings were created in the image of God.
Reverence for human life as a sacred gift and trust fills each person with dignity and worth.
We learn this also from the life of Jesus Christ, who treated each person with dignity and compassion. He did not come to be served, but to serve. As the Son of God he freely served other human beings with his whole life. He showed us the way that God wants us to deal with one another.
Forced service or bonded labour shatters that dignity. Turning one human into the possession of another, to deal with as they will, dehumanises both. This practice undermines the basis of human society, and cheapens the value of human life. We are to explore new ways of living in which one human being does not exploit or dominate another.
We believe that slavery in all its forms is wrong. As a society we need to work to remove it, and repent of inhumane practices and the economic benefits we have received from them.
The Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand joins with church, faith, business and community leaders across the world to do all we can spiritually and practically to eradicate modern slavery.
Let us pray for the strength, grace, and determination we all need to achieve this end. Even as Christ has set us free, so let us live in that freedom for the welfare and benefit of all.
Pastor John Henderson
Bishop, Lutheran Church of Australia
24 November 2015