The January 21, 2017 Women’s March called to me as it did to millions galvanized by the desire to embody and to protect a moral ground defined by justice and love. The inherent worth and dignity of all beings was proclaimed by thousands of jubilant pink hats, prophetic posters, and singing voices. Together we formed a sea of peaceable bodies standing in friendship, and laying claim to the sacred ground under our feet as a commonweal established with unalienable rights for all. From my place on the hill beneath the monument it felt like the Kindom of God had come to earth, a slipstream of goodwill transcending time and space, resonating with the angelic songs of peace and goodwill for all at the birth of the Christ, the child of humanity, revealing the holiness of being to all the earth.
The crowd’s resolve to make a difference was like Mary’s “yes”, declaring a willingness to become a Christ-bearer, a vessel of holy inspiration and action on behalf of all children so that they may one day flourish on a vibrantly healthy planet. All of this is to say I marched as a human being and as a woman with compassion, shaped by scripture, the traditions of the church, and the formative experiences of my own life.
My sign was plastered by a diversity of young faces and said, “WE welcome”. I marched as a woman of Judeo-Christian faith seeking to “Welcome the stranger and the least of these”. I marched as a naturalized citizen of the United States, whose parents were sponsored by a UCC church as “Nazi War Victims”. I marched as a second generation Holocaust survivor whose mother was forced to register and targeted to be murdered with the rest of her family. I marched with a deep seated awareness that fascism is not history and that malevolent patterns of genocide and vengeance are currently repeating themselves by traumatizing millions around our globe. I marched as one who had sailed by the Statue of Liberty as a foreigner trusting her message: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
There is work to do with our immigration policies and vetting those seeking to come to America however, welcoming the stranger is a fundamental practice that benefits our nation immeasurably. Our common good as a nation is tied to the common good of all people. The word “hospitality” is rooted in “hospital”. We are healed as we heal others, we grow stronger with those we seek to strengthen, we rise when we raise up others.
On Saturday, the exuberant, expectant optimism infusing the crowd felt sacred, a “commonwealth of peace and freedom sustained by hope and come on earth.” ( New Zealand Lord’s Prayer) May this holy partnership transform us as we move forward together .
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