October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In the United States, 20 people are physically abused every minute and an estimated 1 in 3 women have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner. Given these statistics, we should expect a number of women and men and children in our congregations dealing with current domestic violence situations or recovering from the trauma of them. What then shall we do?
When will Christians stop believing the lie that we are self-sufficient? When will we understand that collective responsibility for creation, for the vulnerable, is more Christ-like than personal freedom and choice? Will it be when the number of children dead from a disease, which could be controlled by a vaccine, starts rivalling the number of adults? The American evangelical church will find itself with blood on her hands unless we do better.
The Church has been waiting for nearly two thousand years for God’s Kingdom to be fully realized. Where are we now? God never promises when we will see the kingdom, only that it will come soon and very soon and that we have work to do in the time between now and then.
Being pregnant at Christmas, especially this year, feels in a strange way to be a sacred act. We made the conscious decision to try and expand our family in the midst of great uncertainty. For me especially, this pregnancy is a very real sign of hope after two years of infertility, miscarriage, my mother’s death, and then 2020 in general. Advent is the season of hope, regardless of how we will be able to celebrate it. Our family will retell the Christmas story and the expectation that God remains with us even in the midst of despair and turmoil.
We must spend the next few weeks both with bowed heads in prayer and with our eyes and ears alert to what is happening in our communities. Change begins at the local level and continues upward. Until this year I was fairly cynical that my vote could really make a difference, but this year I will vote not only like my life depends on it, but like the lives of the vulnerable and the marginalized around me depend on it too.