By: Rev. Dr. Kris Watson, Founder, Nurturing Justice, Inc./Executive Director, Metropolitan Association UCCNY
“Abolition is vulnerable, intimate, personal, systemic and non-negotiable work.
Abolition is a series of choices and practices…
And in this moment we are understanding, more deeply than ever,
that each of us is called to the work of self and collective transformation for a future that abolition has helped create.
We can’t get to where we need to go if we are not willing to be vulnerable, to make mistakes,
to recognize inside of ourselves the capacity to misstep,
to act in anger and reaction, to lose touch with our good intentions.
And then…to turn and face those missteps with humility and curiosity,
allowing those difficult moments to become the skeletal structure
for our integrity and dignity, for our political clarity.” – adrienne maree brown
Abolitionist movements require extraordinary courage. Today’s scripture calls us to engage in spiritual warfare against one of the persistent “hounds of hell”(Howard Thurman) that dog our footsteps—fear. We are waging war on two fronts: fear of the other and fear of engaging in abolitionist action. We must battle against fear. Fear of the “other” causes hatred, bias and prejudice, and traumatizes our spirits. At the same time, fear often paralyzes us into inaction, preventing us from engaging in practices of restorative justice. We wage both external and internal battles, and we need Divine help to wage war against both, but especially the internal demons of fear and doubt that foster inaction.
Isaiah tells us that God is our salvation. In this we can trust and NOT be afraid. God has become our salvation. Yes! God is our salvation when we remember that God is in us and operates through us. God is our salvation when we remember that God will work in anyone’s garden; God just won’t work alone. God is our salvation when we remember that abolition is both collective and individual practice, both personal and systemic transformation. This salvation, this liberation, this freedom becomes our strength and courage. We do not battle alone. So, be strong and very courageous!
God of Justice, our Strength and Salvation,
teach us to work with our fears and doubt
so that they might be transformed into courage and action by your liberating love.
Give us your power, your protection, your guidance and your strength
as we go forth into this world that longs for your freedom
to seek justice and bring love to birth. Amen.
Artwork: “Courage” by Yohana Junker (discover more at: https://www.yohanajunker.com/)
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