By: Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson, General Minister and President
Earlier in the gospel of Luke, the storyteller shares some intimate information about Elizabeth and Zechariah: “But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old” (Luke 1:7). There are three major issues noted in this verse which impact many in our communities and in some cases these subjects are whispered among us. She was childless, unable to conceive, and old. Any one of these by themselves would have been challenging in a culture where having children was important and necessary for a woman. Yet, when Elizabeth meets Mary, the baby Elizabeth carried moved with vigor in her belly. She was pregnant. She had overcome the challenges.
Options for having a child are sometimes cost-prohibitive. Adoption, fertility treatments, and other methods are financially challenging for many and lack of access is a justice issue. Elizabeth was old. Conceiving as an older woman has its fair share of complications and stigma. Ageism in our societies interferes with the flourishing of women who conceive and parent at an older age. Our commitment to reproductive justice must expand to include the care and attention needed for older women, for those unable to conceive, and for those who are childless. Elizabeth conceived despite the social norms and obstacles of inequity. Our vision for reproductive justice must abolish the taboos, stigmas, and impediments of our day.
This prayer turns its back on the insults,
finds its way around the hurdles,
knows how to make a way out of no way.
When the whispers shun, this prayer
When the hope is dim, this prayer.
When the dream seems impossible, this prayer.
Until joy leaps within us,
and justice fills us to the brim,
and freedom is our name, we pray. Amen.
Artwork: “Our Bodies, Our Rights” by Meredith Stern
Used with permission CC BY-NC-ND
Find more at Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative
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