Joy is an Act of Moral Resistance — Your Holiday Treasure Chest
The government shuts down upon threats of a wall. A child dies in the custody of U.S. officials at the border. The President orders sudden troop withdrawals that provoke global instability. All this took place in the last week alone.
Some may see the holidays as a time to retreat from the cascade of crises facing our nation and world.
We choose to see the holidays not as a time to try to escape but as an opportunity to ground ourselves in joy. Joy returns us to everything that is good and beautiful and worth fighting for. Joy gives us the energy to continue our labors to make a viable life and more just world. Joy comes when we draw our attention to the present moment — a child’s laughter, a neighbor’s cookies, a lit candle. In a time such as this, joy is an act of moral resistance.
We believe that it is always possible to find joy, even in the midst of grief and outrage, when we come together in community. Just a few days ago, our friend Rev. Katharine Henderson delivered the messages of love and support that many of you sent to the families of the Tree of Life Synagogue in the wake of the mass shooting by a white supremacist. We had collected these letters alongside our partners Auburn Seminary, the Sikh Coalition, and the Sikh community of Pittsburgh. They were delivered at an interfaith gathering in the form of a book that you can read here. Communities like these show us that it is possible to claim life and joy, even in the face of hate.
So this week, we send you a song, a sermon, and a piece of news that invite you to open your hearts to all the demands of love — grief, outrage, and joy. May these sources provide nourishment during this holiday. We will be here on the other side to continue the labor with you. #BreatheAndPush
– Amy, Melissa, Julianna, Elizabeth, and the Revolutionary Love Team
A SONG: “WE WON’T SLEEP”
Watch our beloved sister and partner Ari Afsar perform “We Won’t Sleep” with her Hamilton co-star at TEDx. The song is an anthem of Revolutionary Love — a full-throated call to joy and resilience in the movement. You can also catch a glimpse of the song at the Chicago Women’s March here.
“We won’t sleep. They’ll try to get us. We goin’ reach. We’ll reach out for love. We won’t sleep. Not till it’s over. Even with the blurry eyes, baby we won’t compromise.”
A SERMON: “BUILDING A NEW AMERICA”
WATCH/READ/LISTEN to the most powerful sermon we have heard this year by our prophetic sister Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR Los Angeles:
“These are trying times, but we must not let exhaustion or cynicism dull our senses. Our history has taught us: either you work to dismantle oppressive systems, or your inaction becomes the mortar that sustains them. Together we must build America anew: fierce, fair, and full of promise, equipped to hold us in all our diversity, complexity and beauty.”
A PIECE OF NEWS: LOVE KNOWS NO BORDERS
This article in The Nation shares fierce wisdom from our friend and sister Rev. Traci Blackmon who joined more than 300 faith and moral leaders at the border last week to mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Rev. Blackmon tells Jesus’ story as a way to bear witness to cruelty at the border and declares “love knows no borders.”
“In an extraordinarily powerful speech near the end of the two-and-a-half-hour service, the Rev. Traci Blackmon, a St. Louis–based minister with the United Church of Christ and a steering-committee member on the Poor People’s Campaign, talked of how the “brown-skinned Jesus, seeking refuge in a foreign land,” would not have been admitted into Trump’s America. How ‘his family might have been greeted with tear gas or rubber bullets, or, worse yet, he might have been taken from his mother’s arms.’ Blackmon told the gathering that they were ‘compelled to show up and guide this country to our moral selves. When laws are co-opted for greed and political gain, and used as weapons of disenfranchisement, then people of faith and of moral character are compelled to resist in the interest of preserving our humanity.'”
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