Before making a few comments on the issue of the judiciary in Spain, and how it has been a prayer focus for us since late last year, I will pull wider to explain (hope not to justify!!) why we would be praying into this. Personal faith, and enabling people to discover real personal faith is very important to me, but over the years understanding that a) the Gospel message is much wider than that, and b) the body of Christ has a responsibility to enable the world to be the ‘best, though fallen, world it can be’ has pushed me to a context beyond the church, and an emphasis in prayer beyond ‘salvation of souls’. (I tend to use the term ‘body of Christ’ rather than ‘church’ as the latter often communicates a specific model with a focus on congregation and gathering. ‘Body of Christ’ is much more fluid, and I suggest is often more useful terminology as it cannot be colonised by a specific model.)
I believe in a spiritual world that involves demons, the devil etc., though my belief is more practical than theoretical. In other words even if that world does not exist as per classic charismatic understanding and there was no personal devil, I would still believe in spiritual powers. Those spiritual powers operate in and through the institutional constructs, so we have powers in the heavens above and powers on the earth beneath (maybe as Wink expresses: the interiority and exteriority of powers). Those powers will oppress people so that they are unable to find their true calling (sin = the tragedy of never discovering why one was born), and to blind the eyes of those who do not believe so that they cannot see the glory of God as revealed in Jesus. Shifting the influence of those powers is beneficial in itself as it will free people up, and will reduce the influence of powers to blind. Oppression is the bais of our fallen world, but freedom and justice is reflective of heaven’s presence on earth.
I maintain then there is value in and of itself in promoting, campaigning for, and praying for a release of justice. Intrinsic value and a means of clearing the heavens for an increased revelation of God as revealed in Jesus.
The Constitutional Court, Madrid
We have been aware that in Spain the judiciary has been corrupted. Appointments made by the government; cases against the government and judges can be moved off the case. The checks and balances are not present. One of the top lawyers, globally recognised, Baltasar Garzón, was disqualified of judicial activity, for overstepping his boundaries (or pushing hard into government scandals!). To date we have gone to all the national courts in Spain, the most recent one being the Constitutional Court, to pray. As always it is not possible to draw a straight line proving effectiveness. That is one of the wonderful aspects of prayer – it might have happened anyway, and it might have happened because of some other activity…
Four recent nationally impacting events have encouraged us greatly (I posted two of them as ‘news snippets’):
1) The Valley of the Fallen where some 30,000+ are buried, many of whom were prisoners of war, or died in the Civil War, has been a focus for us. We visited there in 2015,and were very happy (as well as highly amused) when Danny Mateo went there and danced where we had prayed. It is amazing when one looks for fulfilments in the world to what has been declared (‘dancers who dance upon injustice’) rather than to the church, how many fulfilments there really are. There is now a significant move forward in removing the bodies and re-burying them in family plots.
2) An impromptu road block was made to one of the roads into Catalonia. The result was arrests with the charge of ‘terrorism’. There was no violence involved, it was a protest. Terrorism would carry up to a 30 year sentence. Crazy… but that is the level of control. The result was the judge through it out. Come on you judges, justice is your standard not control through sentencing.
3) Madrid is a major focus of course for us (still waiting to hear if we will be able to buy the apartment there we looked at – all 18 foot x 13 foot: but in the Spirit a spacious place). There have been some great shifts in the city, with evictions from homes to the streets not occurring unless there is alternative accommodation,a nd the city debt has been reduced year on year. (We still have more work to do on that as the government has now taken a large part of the debt the mayoress and her team have worked hard on to reduce and claimed it as their own to be redistributed where they choose.) Madrid, the Communidad (wider area around Madrid, one of 17 divisions of this type in Spain), had a very politically strong leader. A short while back she was exposed as having a CV (resumé) that claimed a Masters degree that she did not have. Past history would tell us that she would ride the storm. Even when this first came out, we were told repeatedly by Spanish people that corruption is endemic and that this will not shift, and she will not resign. She held on for 36 days and then resigned. A small sign of a shift.
4) A case has just been closed relating to 5 men who repeatedly raped a young woman of 18 years of age in Pamplona during the San Fermin festival of 2016 (the ‘bull running’ festival). One of the judges wanted the men acquitted, and the outcome was that this was not rape but sexual abuse – reason being rape has to involve both violence and intimidation!! There has been such a massive public outcry with the streets erupting. The verdict is a disgrace, but something is rising, and (sadly) the redemptive element of this atrocious verdict is that there is a push from the streets for justice.
Gayle wrote to Roger and Sue Mitchell who were with us during some of the above situations:
The streets filled immediately. Particularly Madrid and outside the justice courts. Full of young women, and old, and men declaring the end of this crappy patriarchal system that violates woman. The images very moving.
I thought of the woman Menina statues going out all over MADRID and then real living women out everywhere in the thousands. So moving.
The government is going to re-look at the case due to public pressure. The movement is strong. So alive. So angry and raw. And so going to bring about change.
Prayer releases street movements for justice. Together they bring about change in the powers (heavenly and earthly). In this we rejoice and gather fresh energy.