In this season of Advent, as I was reflecting on my year, a man in Colorado walked into a Planned Parenthood health clinic with a gun and shot three people.
As Robert Lewis Dear walked into the clinic, I imagined the terror of the women there. Some of them may have come to get pregnancy testing. Others may have come for an abortion. But all probably came knowing full well that society is watching them. After all, women often stand on narrow and shifting ground. They are judged for any reproductive decision they make. They are judged for having a child out of wedlock, and judged for having an abortion. Judged for having too many children or not enough. Women are judged for giving birth with no medical intervention and for giving birth with it.
And as I think of all this, I think of Mary in this season of Advent. She too was pregnant and in a vulnerable place. She too was condemned by society. She too might have faced the violent judgment of a patriarchal society.
For me, what is moving about this story is that in this vulnerable place and despite the difficulties, Mary gives birth to Jesus. Jesus- which to us in the Christian tradition, is God’s face revealed. Love comes down from a fragile and vulnerable place. An unlikely place. A small place. And as I think of Mary, I think about all those women who went to that clinic that day. And how in that small place, in that place where society can be cruel, hateful and even murderous, women find a renewal of life either through an abortion, where they may feel a sense of relief, or of expectancy of a child.
Mary teaches me that love doesn’t live in position or power, but in the small places of our lives. And in our small struggles for justice and peace. Life-giving peace is renewed and created in those spaces.
“We are all called to be mothers of God – for God is always waiting to be born” – the German mystic Meister Eckart
Sarah is the current General Secretary (2015-2016). Sarah first came across the SCM at the mobilization against the G20 in Toronto. She attended a prayer vigil organized by SCM and was hooked. She then attended weekly SCM meetings on faith and justice at the University of Toronto SCM Local Unit meetings. Sarah is passionate about freedom for all people – freedom of thought, freedom of movement across borders, freedom to create and to love. Sarah thinks the SCM provides an avenue to begin to work for this.