By: rev. lacey hunter, Associate Minister of Faith Formation, First Congregational Church of Alameda, CA and Team Lead for Justice & Witness Ministries for the Northern California Nevada Conference UCC
“Abolition means having to unlearn generations of teachings
that taught us how to dehumanize and encouraged punishment.
Freedom demands that we relearn no one is disposable.”
– Molly Costello
Abolition means “no one is disposable.” I first heard this life-changing principle on a webinar offered by public school teachers and administrators who practice liberative pedagogies, including interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline by organizing to get cops out of schools. “No one is disposable” resonated deeply with me as a Christian. This is what it means to live and act in the world where everyone and everything is a beloved child of God. And yet, the systems we currently live in – white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, etc. – require disposability. Under these systems we lock up, extract, and leave behind beloveds for the sake of profit, power, and convenience.
Today’s scripture invites us into this abolition principle by reminding us that to prepare the way for God to become flesh and dwell among us is to prepare the way for a new world where “no one will perish.” With preparation and persistence, this promised vision of freedom is present at any moment. So church, how can we, guided by an Abolitionist God, move at the pace of belovedness? What if, from now on, we imagined our church budgets, policies, committee agendas and worship services as living, breathing homes for freedom rather than places where disposability culture prevails? Can we find the slowness of the Holy One for whom “one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day” so that we, too, are working for a world where none perish, none are forgotten, no one is disposable? May we live and embrace the infinite reach of freedom each day, with every fiber of our being.
Beloved before and behind us.
Beloved above and below us.
Beloved conflict and transform us.
Beloved heal and form us.
Beloved be with us.
Beloved prepare us. Amen.
Artwork: “Activate” by Yohana Junker (discover more at: https://www.yohanajunker.com/)
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