Hope in a New Generation
This Christmas, will you commit to hope for the next generation by making a gift to the Sabeel liberation movement? By doing so, you honor the work of the past and the youth of the future.
When he was twelve, Jesus defied his parents, slipping away to stay behind when the family returned home from Jerusalem. Worried, they searched for him, traveling back to Jerusalem to find their missing son. Three days later, they found him in the temple courts.
His mother asked, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” He responded, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” At first, the boy’s parents felt his actions were irresponsible, but then his mother began to recognize the prophetic in her son’s choices.
How new generations confound us! They trample the ground we have sown, they take radical action in new forms, and they change the shape of our movements, and hold us accountable when they do. Jesus showed signs of counter-cultural resistance to old norms and perhaps engaged in some critical theological exchanges with the religious authorities in the Temple.
We know the violence of old regimes and of those clinging to dated paradigms. We know the fear youth strike in them. Mary’s recognition reminds me to keep awake, to recognize the prophetic voices of generations that follow my own, and to find hope therein.
As the ongoing struggle for Palestinian rights shows, our wins are not permanent. Sometimes the next generation must fight for things we already won. When the struggle is long, we cultivate new generations capable of critiquing and building upon our toil.
And so today, as I join the next generation to struggle in new ways against the same oppressions, I am hopeful. Hope means trusting the prophetic witness of new generations. I am learning that we prevail when we allow our resistance to transform. I am learning how defunding police in the U.S. connects with defunding the Israeli occupation. The holy spirit moves in this way, always lunging away from our finish lines, always finding new lungs for prophetic callings.
I have faith in youth to be in places I do not expect, to confront limits to my own imagination, and to compel me to take action.
Please join me by making a donation at www.fosna.org/hope.
Reverend Don Wagner