By Rev. Brittany Graves
The start of 2021 gives us space to set intention and collectively restart into a new year. Yet, it is without doubt that the residual effects of America’s 2020 have brought a startling beginning to this year. That became evident on January 6 as insurrection and riots ensued on Capitol Hill to overthrow democracy. News coverage shared calls with senators inside the Capitol in which their fear and the circumstances were compared to the 9/11 attack or combat in war overseas.
White supremacy is a home-grown and deep-rooted issue in the United States. You hear of white supremacists worried about threats from “terrorists” nation, but do not acknowledge the terrorism that resides within themselves. In 2021, I want to see white supremacists concede to their violent nationalism that is harmful to democracy. When they will not hold themselves accountable and lawmakers struggle to do the same, let it be up to us to continually speak truth and use our inner power for good. As people of faith witnessing riots where Christianity is defamed with “Jesus saves” flags and Trumpisms, let us not only renounce riots but persist in extinguishing hate or anything that disrupts freedom by determining what is ours to do.
As 2021 is just getting started, allow yourself to lean into the continued work to build a better future. There are shifts happening as we await Inauguration Day and take in the very present divisiveness across the nation. May we stay encouraged in hope, intention and action, not to be dismayed by the offense of others. Let it propel us forward to be engaged, discern boundaries, and uphold values that sustain our community and well-being.
Questions to consider:
- In what ways will you persist in advocating for good?
- What year do you want to create for yourself and your community?
- What ways can we decolonize our faith to disrupt Christian nationalism?
What you can do:
Scripture from Luke 4:17-21:
17 When the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed him, he unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because the Most High has anointed me
to bring good news to those who are poor.
God has sent me to proclaim liberty to those held captive,
recovery of sight to those who are blind,
and release to those in prison –
19 to proclaim the year of the God’s favor.”
20 Rolling up the scroll, Jesus gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he said to them, “Today, in your hearing, this scripture is fulfilled.”
Creator God, let us acknowledge the ways you’ve already granted provision and given us freedom. Help us to always discern how to move and what to do when individuals or systems encroach on liberation. Give us the ability to step into our autonomy, to know our truth, and be fully present to create a better tomorrow. May we always strive to be connected to our intuition and the divinity you’ve given, not to be distracted by injustice disconnected from you.
Rev. Brittany Graves is associate coordinator, Public Witness & Advocacy, American Baptist Home Mission Societies. She welcomes your input at [email protected]. Keep up with her on Instagram @ambitiouslybrittany.
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