(This message is part of our Imagining Abundance giving campaign. If you’d like to donate directly, you can click here to do so.)
On the last night of the CoInspire conference we attended in October, every participant was invited to a Liberation Dance Party. After the important intensity of the conversations and work of the conference, singing, sweating, joyfully dancing alongside friends and strangers helped all of us embody what collective liberation looks like, and served as a potent reminder that experiencing joy in community is an act of liberation.
On the third Sunday of Advent we light the candle of Joy, and often hear the song Mary sings after being told she will bear God’s son into the world. I am struck that When Mary is visited by the angel, her response isn’t fear, but curiosity. When faced with the overwhelming circumstances of bringing a child into a world filled with conflict and uncertainty, violence and turmoil, Mary says, “ok. Here I am,” and then offers a song of abundant praise in gratitude for God’s faithfulness.
The world is a mess right now. As we move through the process of excavating and working to heal wounds too long ignored, Mary’s Magnificat offers a model of faithfulness and trust for anyone feeling heavy-laden by the weight of the world. While she celebrates God’s faithfulness as manifest in choosing her to carry Christ, she also sings of the liberation God brings in lifting up those who’ve been marginalized by oppressive forces. Mary recognizes the liberation she has in knowing she is deeply loved and seen by God is the same force that topples empires.
Over the course of this year we’ve had opportunities to witness that true liberation comes when it is shared by people who are equally committed to working for a better world for everyone. When we begin to see one another as God’s beloved children and to see ourselves as God’s beloved community, when we learn to shed the facade forced upon us by unjust systems, when we begin to embody the belief that our identities as children of God transcend any labels created by these systems, we find a deep and collective joy that cannot be shaken by our circumstances.
Throughout our history, More Light has been about sharing this kind of joy with one another, even in the midst of sometimes crushing circumstances. Through setbacks and conflict and turmoil, we have witnessed the kind of deep joy that comes with inter-relational liberation.
So often we hear from folks within the More Light community who share stories of people weighed down with the fear of sharing themselves. These stories often convey the liberation people feel in simply sharing and being seen in the fullness of who they are. Part of our work at More Light is to equip congregations and communities for these conversations, and for understanding how they invite a deeper knowledge and trust of ourselves and one another. Our Teach-Ins are designed as resources for helping individuals and congregations gain the tools they need to create spaces where inter-relational liberation is embodied and carried into the world.
In Part 3 of our Racial Justice Teach-In, Lead Trainer Jessica Vazquez-Torres addressed the fear that can come with having conversations about white supremacy and the freedom that comes with recognizing how it limits both our individual and collective liberation:
“Can we de-center the whiteness that has us enslaved long enough to imagine what it means to be free? And if we could figure out what it means to be free, the mechanics of de-centering whiteness: of the letting go of what imprisons us, actually isn’t terrorizing, but it is something that is about liberation and a decolonization of ourselves.”
There is a deep and abiding joy that comes with knowing ourselves and knowing what holds us captive. The joy that comes with the vision of our collective liberation cannot be easily shaken, because it binds us to a deeper understanding of who we were created to be as God’s beloved children.
Throughout the month of December, we have a goal of raising $5000 that will be matched by the More Light Board of Directors. We are just over halfway to that goal, and we need your support to meet the match by December 31. Can you contribute $25, $55, or $100 today to ensure we can continue to shine More Light in 2020?
As we long and work for a world where all of God’s children are seen and celebrated in the fullness of who they’ve been created to be, may we do so with a shared focus on our collective liberation. May we experience the joy of being a community committed to justice and abundant inclusion.