Monday, December 24, 2012

"See, the home of God is among mortals."

By David Wildman, United Methodist Church – General Board of Global Ministries

Our daughter and son were both born the week after Christmas. Each year our family experiences the hopes, the waiting and the expectations of Advent as very tangible, very earthy, and very fragile. The incarnation, God making a home with us mortals, like the birth of a baby, transforms our lives here and now! God’s vulnerability as a new born reveals how much God depends on our loving actions too!

Reading the text of Rev. 21:1-5 in Advent reminds us that Emmanuel, God with us, is not a one-time event that happened long ago, but God’s ongoing revolution in our lives and relationships with our neighbors today! The new heaven and new earth that Revelation depicts is not somewhere far off, but here among us now. A new Jerusalem coming into our lives is not built in a day. It embodies a promise to make all things new! The burden of old unjust, exploitative work relations will be replaced with relationships built on love, respect and justice for all its people.

But wait! Today, like in first century Palestine, all too many low wage workers live lives stuck in advent – a season of frustrated hopes, endless waiting, and lowered expectations – where Christmas never seems to come. We crave a quick fix to end the injustice and indignity that ravage workers’ lives. Do something God to end the widening inequality and exploitation that are tearing our society apart!

We are waiting for God to bring justice into our world. Yet this night, Emmanuel, the babe born in a manger, also waits for our hands to wipe away one another’s tears, to put an end to mourning. The text in Revelation is not calling us to a handkerchief ministry but an incarnational ministry of solidarity and love. As Mother Jones, the great labor organizer, declared, “Don’t mourn! Organize!”

Low wage workers in the early church who primarily heard the Bible read aloud would have heard the words of Isaiah echoed in the reading from Revelation 21. For Isaiah, God’s new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem are to be built on a foundation of economic justice: “No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat… They will not toil in vain.” (see Isaiah 65:17-25)

For more than 16 years Interfaith Worker Justice has mobilized workers and faith communities to be about the work of a God who is making a home among us whose foundation is justice. This advent IWJ has joined with Walmart workers and warehouse workers to build a new Jerusalem where no one’s wages will be stolen. Each of the many worker centers and IWJ affiliates across the US embody a bit of a new Jerusalem as together we build communities founded on respect, equality and just wages. We invite you this advent to join with Interfaith Worker Justice in this incarnational labor of love.
A new city of justice is on the way!

“David Wildman’s devotional is part of InterfaithWorker Justice Advent Reflections. Gifts to support the work of Interfaith Worker Justice can be made through The Advance.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.