DAY 17 | ADVENT JUBILEE
REFLECT: PSALM 146
Our God upholds the cause of the oppressed (Ps 146:7a). That this is good news to those of us who identify with a marginalized group is self-evident. In many contexts, though, many of us belong to a dominant group. Still, we understand that this good news, Christ’s Good News, is universally good. So in what sense can we celebrate Christ’s liberation of the prisoners (7b) if we are not victims of mass incarceration, for example? We can hope for, can work for the liberation of prisoners, but until we recognize our own freedom as wrapped up in theirs, we miss a key piece of Christ’s saving narrative. James Cone, Black Liberation theologian and author of “God of the Oppressed,” notes that “there can be no reconciliation with God unless the hungry are fed, the sick are healed, and justice is given to the poor. The justified person is at once the sanctified person, one who knows that [their] freedom is inseparable from the liberation of the weak and the helpless”¹ (214). The deliverance of African American men from the school-to-prison pipeline, the liberation of women from sexual harassment and violence, the transcendence of transgender individuals from state sanctioned marginalization, the freedom of other groups from their respective bondage, is a necessary precondition for the redemption of all others. Womanist poet Audre Lorde offers this succinct conclusion: “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”² (132).
Let Us Pray:
Great Liberator, may we see your divine justice for the Good News it is to oppressed and oppressor alike. May we see your divine-human mediation in light of its Salvific Truth: that you came to free the lowly, and while any are oppressed, none are free.
1. Cone, James H. God of the oppressed. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2000. 2. Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays & Speeches by Audre Lorde. Berkeley: Crossing Press, 2007
1 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul.
2 I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free,
8 the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord.