Our final piece of preparation also felt like a launch into the action: an Interfaith Service on Sunday night. As you can imagine, the sanctuary was full and vibrating with the Spirit.
The worship service was on the last night of Hanukkah and Rabbi Brant Rosen (AFSC staff member and co-founder of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council) invited all Jewish people to join in the lighting of the eighth candle. It was a beautiful tribute to the fact that, when times are the bleakest, we struggle and have hope for a miracle together. (25:00)
Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, shared that "no one is outside of the circle of love and creation." Later she stated that scarcity is a lie that creates fear and makes enemies of people. And that when we operate out of scarcity, we militarize our borders (31:00)
Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign, shared his encouragement and teaching via video (48:00). He encouraged us to understand that they aren't crossing the border, the border crossed them. He taught out of Ezekiel 22 about standing in the gap. Standing in the gap like a wall between hatred and those who want love. Every nation will be judged by the way they treat the poor, the sick and the immigrant. By standing in the gap with love, grace and mercy we will be saving the soul of the Nation.
Following a lesson of our distorted moral narrative -- including the fact that all of the US interventions have destabilized countries and created poverty which has created a need to migrate -- from an organizer and co-chair of the California Poor People's Campaign, we heard a testimony from someone directly impacted by Border Patrol violence (57:00).
Rev. Shawna Foster is a member of About Face: Veterans Against the War and serves on the National Steering Committee of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and shared the fact that the gas used on migrant children has been banned since 1993 to be used in combat. (1:10:00)
Rev. Traci Blackmon is the Executive Minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries for The United Church of Christ. Begins by setting us the context of Advent and the fact that our brown-skinned Jesus would not be welcomed at our borders. "Peace is the presence of justice and love. There is no such thing as a peaceful protest... loving all of the people causes conflict... Loving people is an act of protest against evil and so much else." (1:19:00)
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. In times like these, what are we waiting for? We are preparing for a season of justice; this is a kairos moment. We must be ready to engage justice at every corner to stand-up and fight for justice. (1:56:00)
Bishop Minerva Carcano, episcopal leader of the California-Nevada Conference and Chair of the UMC Immigration Task Force, sent us forth in the spirit of a migrant child who died of hunger, thirst and probably of a broken heart. "We belong to a love that knows no borders...we are going forth to live love so that migrant brothers and sisters will be sustained..."(2:15:00)