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This morning Time Magazine released the news that their Person of the Year are the Silence Breakers, women who have come forth in a chorus of courage and resistance against sexual harassment and domination of men proclaimed Me Too this year. As I mentioned in my article on October 18th on The 12 the Me Too campaign was started by Tarana Burke more than a decade ago and resurged again this year. As CNN online stated in their December 6th article, “It’s a recognition of the cultural reckoning this year and the #MeToo movement, which represents the people, mostly women, who have fueled a worldwide discussion about sexual harassment and assault.”
I can’t help but think of Mother Mary and the season of Advent when I reflect on this news from Time Magazine.
Mary is courageous. She is defiant. She is made strong in the faith of her God. She breaks the silence of domination and ushers in a new world.
God has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. Mary sings a prophetic song of resistance in the Gospel of Luke that reverberates in 2017.
This is not a season of sentimentality or the time to escape with heartwarming hallmark traditions. This is a season of repentance. This is a season of the reign of God breaking into the human flesh through the body of a woman who believed God was speaking to her.
Historically the purple in our Advent color carried the same weight of the purple in the Lenten season. It’s a time of penitence and sincere self-reflection as we find that it is the humble that God chooses and it is the proud that God scatters.
In 1851 Sojourner Truth preached at the Women’s Convention Center in Akron, Ohio. She proclaimed:
Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
I look forward to Advent every year because The Magnificat in Luke 1 is the longest discourse we have of a woman in our Scripture. These nine powerful and prophetic verses from the Mother of God fuel my faith. The holy words of The Mother of God fuel the public reckoning of the injustices made against women.
In Rachel Held Evans December 5th blog titled Mary the Magnificat, and an Unsentimental Advent she puts into words what I am feeling and what many are feeling this Advent. She writes:
But I’m not feeling sentimental this Advent. I’m feeling angry, restless.
And so in this season, I hear Mary’s Magnificat shouted, not sung:
In the halls of the Capitol Building….
“He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.”
In the corridors of the West Wing…
“He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly.”
In the streets of Charlottesville…
“He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.”
Among women who have survived assault, harassment, and rape…
“He has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.”
Among the poor, the refugees, the victims of gun violence, and the faithful ministers of the gospel who at great cost are speaking out against the false religions of nationalism and white supremacy…
“His mercy is for those who fear him, from generation to generation.”
God found favor in Mary. Mary knew nothing is impossible with God. In her faith and through her body she brought about a new world that ushered in the savior, Jesus. She believed God and so she persisted. She didn’t need the permission of Joseph, she knew it was God who called her and it was God who would see her through.
The sins of male domination are being confronted in the public reckoning of the Me Too movement. The sins of pride, the sins of greed, the sins of domination, God is confronting today. Just like God used Mary to bring about a new kingdom God is using women in 2017 and we have the Holy Mother guiding us today.
Mary’s courage came from God. Mary’s defiance came from God. Mary’s prophecy came from God. She trusted she had a word from God and that Word became flesh.
From The Resist Daily: The Everyday politics of Jesus for the Global Neighborhood they reference the theologian Delores Williams and her work on Mary. Part of the work of Williams was centralizing Mary and her narrative in the Gospel story Resist Daily writes:
Not only does God make a way out of no way, God uses her most desperate situation to begin the salvific work for all of humanity. Williams re-conceptualization of the salvific narrative de-center the maleness of Christology and provides hope for the many women who cannot identify with traditional understandings of the salvific narrative.
Now is the season to repent. Now is the season to return to the Lord and repent of the ways domination has perpetuated sin. Now is the time to follow our savior who casts down the mighty from their thrones and uplifts the humble of heart. Now is the time to break the silence. May Mary give us the strength in 2017 to bring about a new world through Jesus Christ our Savior.