Written by Rebekah Choate, Ecumenical Women Co-Chair and Minister for Global Advocacy and Education, United Church of Christ
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence...to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! (from Isaiah 64:1-9)
Sometimes I get this strong desire for vindication. To show everyone that I’m right and they are wrong. I think most humans get this feeling, particularly when they are up against someone whose views feel fixed and unmovable.
When I advocate for anti-racist, anti-misogynist, abolitionist policies, I tell people that I am moved to do so by my faith. Sometimes I want God to come to Earth to back me up, like Isaiah writes in the beginning of this passage: why don’t you tear open the heavens and get down here already! I don’t need the mountains to quake or nations to tremble, I just need God to tell everyone to change their oppressive policies and practices so life can be better for every human.
But that’s not how faith works. Faith tells us to trust in God’s call despite God’s physical absence in our lives. As much as the season of Advent invites us to pay attention to our yearning, waiting, and preparing for God’s presence, it also calls us to embody God’s love, to take up our roles in the incarnation of justice in our midst. And Isaiah reminds us that we humans are all the work of God’s hand. We may disagree, but we are all children of God and made in God’s image, deserving of loving accountability and profound grace.
I have to trust and have faith in God that my advocacy will make a difference. And I believe we can build a world where there is justice, peace, and everlasting unconditional love. We all have essential parts to play in bringing God’s love to birth in this world.
Ever-arriving God, match our profound Advent yearning for your presence made real among us with our deep and active commitments to create a world where your love and justice are embodied.
For a future of freedom for all bodies, we would pray and live. Amen.
Abolition is taking responsibility and refusing to abandon others.
Make your voice heard! Write an op-ed, letter to the editor, and/or a letter to your local, state, or federal representatives advocating for a specific policy change, like supporting the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act in the US Congress.
Check out A Restorative Conversation Toolkit to discover ways to practice talking about things that are hard to talk about or navigate conflict from an abolitionist point of view that says no one is disposable.
Originally posted here as part of the UCC's Join the Movement Abolition Advent Calendar.