Thursday, December 8, 2016

Justice Devotional - May the Words

Devotion to Justice
A series of devotions from the Justice table on the topics of
  • Women and children
  • Hunger and poverty
  • Creation care
  • Immigration
May the Words
Luke 13:10-16

Walking down a dusty road at camp, a young woman and I spoke about an incident from her life. While jogging, a worker in the neighborhood decided to whistle at her as she started her run and again when she was returning. The first whistle elicited a fierce glare. As her feet pounded the pavement, her heart rate and her anger increased. She wasn’t just miffed or mildly perturbed; instead, her anger reverberated within her. The second whistle unleashed the rage that had been building, and vehement words spilled out. The intensity of the response surprised her. As we walked on, we analyzed her reaction.

In a time when some legislators seek to redefine rape and make outrageous statements that disparage violence against a time when girls and women are bought and sold as easily and sometimes with less thought than buying a cup of a time when girls are emaciated by anorexia because their bodies do not match the bodies in the teen a time when some girls are maimed for simply wanting to learn, smaller acts of unwanted comments and gestures toward women point toward even greater violations of selfhood. Words and images help shape how women perceive themselves and how women are valued in the world. Justice begins in how we describe those among us. Something as simple as how we describe an assertive woman versus an assertive man speaks to a continuing difference in valuing.

When Jesus healed a woman bent over for eighteen years, his actions and words spoke to her “bondage,” challenging those who had defined her by her gender and her condition. He confronted the powers that protested her healing. He directed her and all present to see her fully as a beloved and valued part of the community: “And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” (Luke 13:16)

And ought not all girls and women, beloved daughters of God, be set free from bondage...all forms...on each day?

Blessed and Gracious God, who bestows the name Beloved on each and all, transform the words of our mouths, the thoughts of our minds and the longings of our hearts into gifts of justice. Amen.

Rev. Mary Jacobs: President, IDWM Interim Regional Minister Northern California/Nevada Women and Children
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