By: Rev. Dr. Monica Dawkins-Smith, Executive Associate, UCC Wider Church Ministries
“We abolition women are turning the world upside down.” – Angelina Grimke
During the Season of Advent, we are reminded of the coming of God’s realm by the prophet Mary in her revolutionary canticle, The Magnificat. This is the longest text spoken by a woman in the New Testament, composed as a song of praise about God’s mercy and promise to lift up the poor, and the oppressed. Mary offers an abolitionist vision not just for her day, but for generations to come, petitioning God on behalf of all those who are abused, unhoused, hungry, struggling with mental illness, and so much more.
So subversive was Mary’s Magnificat, it was banned from public use in countries like India, Guatemala, and Argentina, where its compelling vision of liberation incited uprising among people seeking to upend systems of injustice. As a protest chant and freedom song, the Magnificat amplified God’s solidarity with those who suffer and instilled hope of God’s might to destroy unjust systems — social, political, and economic. The prophetic words and abolition vision in the Magnificat, embodied by a poor pregnant woman in the presence of another pregnant woman in Luke’s gospel, positioned them as co-conspirators in the struggle to upend patriarchy and co-laborers as midwives of justice to birth good news for oppressed people everywhere.
Birthing God, make us singers of abolition songs like Mary,
songs that imagine a world turned upside down by revolutionary Love-become-flesh.
As we wait expectantly for the coming of your realm (that will surely come),
empower us to become midwives,
co-conspirators with you,
ushering in a new day of freedom,
where your love and justice prevail. Amen.
Artwork: “Midwife” by Yohana Junker (discover more at: https://www.yohanajunker.com/)
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