Abolition Advent Calendar - 2023

December 15 – Signs and Wonders

By: Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson, Associate General Minister for Wider Church Ministries and Co-Executive for Global Ministries

Then Isaiah said: "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Sovereign, Godself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel (from Isaiah 7:10-16).

 

Signs and wonders are a part of the Advent season, especially in the prophetic narratives that portend the coming of the Messiah. Here Isaiah offers one such sign: the virgin will conceive and bear a son – a sign that God would deliver the people from the siege that had befallen Jerusalem.

We, too, are living through times of siege. Cities are under siege with militarized policing, their presence a sign that emancipation has not yet come for all. Children are dying in the streets, their young bodies evidence of the brutality of our society, their bellies empty in a country where food is wasted and greed is at excess. In these times, we are aware all are not free. Schools are under siege, under-education and miseducation creating new forms of oppression for another generation of children. There is a need for emancipation, freedom from the cycles of racism, poverty, and oppression. There are enslaving patterns and abolition visions everywhere.

During this Advent season, there are many signs already given to us. These signs point to God present with us, even as they point to the need for justice and change among us. These signs are an invitation to be advocates for the change we want to see – they are abolition dreams.  There are signs everywhere. How many signs do you need?

Prayer

Inhale: Signs and wonders abound.

Exhale:  God help me practice attention.

 

Artwork: “Awaken” by Yohana Junker (discover more at: https://www.yohanajunker.com/)

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“An abolitionist project is one that addresses the systemic and immediate needs of communities, particularly the most marginalized, not only demanding the end to carceral institutions that are violent, but to create structures that are built upon mutual aid, transformative justice, community accountability and collective liberation.” – Connie Wun

Take Action

Practice Attention

  • Dwell: Keep a journal of the signs and wonders you are perceiving this Advent. Where are you witnessing God drawing near?  Where do you notice the longing for love and justice to be made flesh? What enslaving patterns and abolition visions are you encountering? How are you being called to respond.
  • Study: Check out the zine by Benji Hart and Emma Li “Practicing Abolition, Creating Community,” about imaging ways of practicing abolition in your neighborhood.
Discern Abolition Signs in Your Community

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