This week Congress voted to pass a tax structure that further privileges the wealthy and harms the poor. The rhetoric around this legislation centers benefiting working families yet it imposes restrictions that will create deeper economic divisions. Its supporters perceive it to be an act of good will. This weekend we will celebrate the birth of Jesus who was born into a poor working class family in the midst of economic oppression by the Roman Empire. Rome too perceived itself to be a benevolent government extending good will to its citizens. That "good will" came at a great cost to those who could least afford it and so will ours. The gospel of Matthew is written in the midst of this same oppression. Matthew reminds us to look for the guiding star that leads us to a place of hope and joy. It's a reminder that doing so in the midst of struggle is an act of sacred resistance.
United Methodist Jan L. Richardson in her work Night Visions reminds us of the importance of finding joy in the midst of struggle.
“In the years to come I will learn how necessary it is to keep dancing, how celebration is not a luxury but a staple of life, how in the grimmest moments I will need to take myself down to the closest festival at hand. I will go not to drown my sorrow or to mask my despair or to ignore the real suffering of the world or of my own self. I will go to beat out the message with my feet that in the darkness we are dancing, and while we are weeping we are dancing, and our legs are aching but we are dancing. And under the night sky we are dancing; lighting a match to the shadows, we are dancing; starting to sing when they have stopped the music, we are dancing; sending shock waves with our feet to the other side of the world, we are dancing still."
I am reminded that this year of struggle has been filled with sacred acts of joyful resistance.
Friends, family and justice-seeking strangers have joined together “sending shock waves with our feet to the other side of the world.” We’ve danced down to the closest festivals at hand, marched to capitol rotundas and city halls alike singing the songs of sacred resistance. We’ve danced the dances of gender equity, dismantling white supremacy, Sanctuary, healthcare access, a just tax structure, LGBTQIA inclusion and gun violence prevention. We’ve lit "a match to the shadows” of hate and discrimination within the walls of the White House and within our own denomination. We've done so with the un-extinguishable light of love.
This year as we celebrate the birth of the One who brings peace, dances with joy, fills us with hope and calls us to rise up in love, I will give thanks for each of you. I will give thanks for the gift of singing and dancing with justice-seekers from Oregon to Florida and everywhere in between.
I will do so in a sacred act of joyful resistance.
Join me in this holy act of joyful resistance by making a year end gift to MFSA as we continue to rise up and resist all that stands in the way of love.