In your community and mine, it is easy to find children who are, for myriad reasons, embroiled in the juvenile justice system. Will we stand idle and silent, allowing beloved children of God to be funneled away from academic success and rerouted toward the juvenile justice system?
Like the majority of American Christians, for most of my adult life I had only a passing interest in this country’s health care crisis. Now, as I await a kidney transplant, personal experience has led me to care deeply about this issue. But I believe faith communities should care too.
The real life Wonder Woman, Israeli actress Gal Gadot, has stood against intolerance and nativism as an advocate peace, equality and tolerance. We should embrace the heroes and sheroes who challenge us to fight battles we did not think we could fight, much less win.
“Out to pasture” is a label that doesn’t fit us well as retired female ministers. So where might we go from here? When the joyous strains of the retirement celebration in fellowship hall fade into a faint echo, what do we do next?
As people of faith, let us seize this holy commission, covering survivors of family violence with the compassionate cloak of justice, confronting violence wherever it casts its shadow and following God into every place where oppression must be overcome by justice.
It is a divine calling from God to care for those who have reached this unbearable place in their lives. The church cannot offer some magical spiritual cure. The church can offer the kind of ministry of care and compassion that points to the resilience of the human spirit and to the abiding presence of God’s spirit in every unendurable, overpowering circumstance.
As ‘bystanders’ to the trauma of sexual violence, we can choose to see and hear, refuse to keep the secret, empower survivors to tell their stories, and in their telling, open wide the windows of truth and healing.
It’s time for us to go a step further by owning at least a part of this national shame of forcibly separating children from their migrant parents. We must be willing to name our government’s role in this crisis as perpetrators of child abuse. We must understand such harm in light of our knowledge about children’s health and wellbeing and how strongly the Scripture speaks to the mandate of protecting children.
As Independence Day approaches, I am reminded to look more intently to see the sincere acts of patriotism all around me. And to ask myself what “liberty and justice for all” looks like in these troublesome days.