By: Rev. Lorraine Ceniceros, Conference Minister, Kansas Oklahoma Conference
“Abolitionists understand the stakes of injustice and inequality better than anyone.
But rather than surrender themselves to despair, abolitionists maintain a profound commitment to radical change
…At the center of abolitionist thinking is the belief that the future of the world is never limited to the present.”
– Mo Torres
It was in 1915 when my great grandmother first crossed into the United States at the Texas/Mexico border with her mother and her 3-year-old daughter (my grandmother) to escape the violence of the ongoing Mexican Revolution. She was 26 years old. At that time border crossing was not difficult. Crossings into the U.S. were logged. Mexican citizens and Mexican Americans were allowed to come and go. What was more dangerous was the non-acceptance of these crossings by state and local authorities tasked with quelling small and not well-organized Mexican bandits along the border. The response to the bandits was directed at the Texas-Mexican population with the killing of hundreds-if not thousands of men, women, and children whose deaths were sanctioned by the state. Co-founder of the Texas based project ‘Refusing to Forget’ notes that policing at the Texas/Mexico border between 1910 and 1920 was about establishing racial order, white supremacy.
I share this information to acknowledge this is the atmosphere my great grandmother repeatedly traveled through as she sought to find a safe place for her mother, daughter, and later children. Our scripture text 1 Samuel 2: 1-10 is Hannah’s prayer to God in response to the hardships Hannah experiences as a woman in ancient Israel. Like many women who followed, Hannah turns to God throughout her challenges and heartbreak, acknowledging God’s presence through the good and bad. She moves with confidence in the future vision of flourishing that God promises. The breaker of warrior’s arrows, the provider of strength to those who stumble, this God who journeys with Hannah raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, in this and every generation of women who move toward freedom.
Gracious loving God of our mothers, fathers, parents
in Advent hope, open us to witness and acknowledge
those who are fleeing their homeland in search of safer life.
Make their dreams of security for their families our dreams too.
As we prepare the way for Love,
move us to use our voice, hands, and resources to help bring relief,
until all are raised from ash heap to honor. Amen.
Artwork: “We Move” by Yohana Junker (discover more at: https://www.yohanajunker.com/)
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