I have a woodblock print of Mary taped up behind my desk. She stands, one fist raised, crushing a serpent beneath her feet. Cast down the mighty, the print says, Fill the hungry. Lift the lowly. Send the rich away. Every Advent, my church reads these words from the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) as we look forward to Christmas and the promise of new life and hope in the coming of Christ.
These words also resonate with our office as we pursue peace and justice, and as we work with churches and grassroots organizations around the world who speak out against violence and defend hope in the midst of oppression. From a recent MCC statement:
In a world of violence and injustice, living into hope is a faithful, courageous witness. For over one hundred years, MCC has witnessed and walked alongside churches and grassroots organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North America who have modeled speaking out against violence and defending hope in the midst of injustice. In these contexts, hope is strong and audacious, radically demonstrating the upside-down order Jesus embodied: a Kingdom where children lead (Isaiah 11:6), the dead live (Matthew 28:6), the poor in spirit are blessed (Matthew 5:3) and the captives are set free (Luke 4:18). It is an Advent hope, an upside-down hope of waiting for and living into the Kingdom of God.
We draw encouragement from these glimpses of the Kingdom of God -- in U.S. churches dialoguing, in communities around the world standing up for their own dignity and the wellbeing of their neighbors, in coalitions calling out for transformed policy that improves the lives of people in the U.S. and around the world.
Thank you for joining us in this radical, audacious hope.