By: Dr. Katrina Roseboro-Marsh, Executive Director, The Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ
When the prophet says, “see your salvation comes,” Isaiah reminds us of the transformational force of abolition, maintaining that everyone is vital, no one is forsaken. As much as Isaiah was called to proclaim this message of freedom to God’s people, so are we called to proclaim the message of freedom for all bodies, especially those whose rights and dignity are under attack in new and renewed ways. Abolition this Advent season invites us to proclaim the arrival of liberation in our midst, through the continual recognition of the full spectrum of gender identities and expressions. Just as Isaiah’s God named the outcasts “The Holy People,” we celebrate and affirm the sacred dignity of every person, of every gender. As God calls the rejected ones, “Sought Out,” we center transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive voices and experiences and commit to be changed by what we witness.
Consistent with Isaiah’s role as a prophet of hope in the midst of adversity, this passage should guide and encourage us today. When the prophet delivers his message of deliverance and salvation, the community, even the world, is essentially in a state of disarray. However, Isaiah’s declaration directs our focus towards small acts of liberation in the here and now, such as the community reuniting, gathering for meals, the reinstatement of laughter where tears had been shed, and the elimination of darkness through the illuminating light of not just candles, but our light – God’s light shining through us. From a theological standpoint, we can hold together the present and future of liberation in which communal/community/communion and celebration in the present serve as precursors to a future when the mending of all that has been disrupted is complete, because everyone is essential, present and welcomed at the table, just as they are and are becoming.
Inhale: I am not forsaken.
Exhale: Our freedom is at hand.
Artwork: “Bodily Autonomy for All” by Shyama Kuver.
Used with permission CC BY-NC-ND
Find more at Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative
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