by Laurie Gudim
A couple of days ago members of the agricultural community of the county in which I live held a public forum to speak about the critical need for migrant farm workers. The skills of these laborers are complex and their work is very demanding. Without enough of them our entire community will be adversely affected.
I was unable to attend this meeting, but a friend reports that the discussion moved from economics to the basic human rights issues surrounding deportation. And the farmers speaking up on behalf of their workers kept repeating, “This is not about politics, it is about humanity.”
Today we celebrate four women who acted on behalf of people without rights: women and black African-Americans. Harriet Ross Tubman risked her life and her freedom over and over again to bring others to freedom. Sojourner Truth labored tirelessly to end slavery and improve the lives of women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Amelia Jenks Bloomer both traveled and spoke extensively for abolition and women’s rights, at personal risk and in the face of criticism and ridicule.
Why is it important for us to take a stand for those who are without rights in our society? Many arguments can be made from a sociopolitical perspective, but for Christians it boils down to one central mandate: following the Way of Jesus. Jesus was, pure and simple, a liberator. Over and over again he demonstrates a love without boundaries and a lavish hospitality. It’s the thing that is most clear and most consistent in all the Gospels. The Law, the rules, come second to the real needs of actual human beings. Loving our neighbors – all people – as we love ourselves – that’s what we are meant to do – and with everyone who needs us.
Today’s reading from the First Letter of Peter talks about stewardship of the “manifold grace of God”. We are to speak as those speaking the very words of God. We are to serve with the strength that God supplies. Take up your cross, therefore, and go as Jesus leads us. Stand in solidarity with those without a voice, without rights. It is not about politics, it is about humanity. But even more central than that, for us it is about Christ.
Laurie Gudim works is a religious iconographer and writer in Fort Collins, Colorado. You can view some of her work at Everyday Mysteries.She has recently published her novel, Loving the Six-Toed Jesus, available from Amazon.
Image: collage from Public Domain images