EDITORS NOTE: This reflection by D.L. Mayfieldis a part of the 2019 Rising the Mild: Creation Reflections on Farmworker Justice.
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; just like the crocusit shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with pleasure and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Isaiah 35:1-2
So many occasions I’ve felt as if one in all my ministries has been the responsibility of despair. I can go into any completely happy gathering and deflate the temper immediately by citing any variety of matters: white supremacy, inequality, the strategic dismantling of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, slave labor, and unjust meals practices. I’m wondering why I dont get invited to many events anymore!
The reality of it’s that the world has all the time been filled with people who find themselves being oppressed and those that profit from that exploitation. It’s the age-old story of Pharaohs empire and the enslaved Israelites, of predatory economies and the disenfranchised individuals whom God sees. I see the threads of this scriptural theme all over the place in my very own context. As a white evangelical American lady, I too have benefited from an economic system of shortage and extraction. I take pleasure in low, low costs on my meals and garments and electronics due to low, low wages paid to the employees. I’m linked to the threads of struggling that allow my way of life.
However staying solely in a spot of despair can lead us into locations of paralysis, poisonous disgrace, or burnout. How are we to reply to the nice injustices of the world together with how farmworkers are handled in our personal communities and nations wholeheartedly? I imagine it takes the creativeness of the Creator God to maneuver us ahead and provides us a imaginative and prescient for a world the place everybody in our neighborhoods can flourish.
When I’m tempted to solely see the world with the eyes of despair, I learn passages like Isaiah 35 and one thing new is sparked inside me. God, who’s obsessive about those that have been and are being exploited, additionally appears to have a watch for magnificence. God designed flowers and bushes to burst into bloom merely for the enjoyment of it. I learn concerning the freeway known as the Approach of Holiness, the place individuals will stroll to Zion, singing and shouting for pleasure, their sorrows and sighing lengthy forgotten. What does it appear like for me to reside immediately as if I’d sometime be on the freeway of pleasure to the brand new metropolis, one the place each particular person in our communities is flourishing? Maybe it appears like leaning into pleasure the place we will discover it, even within the midst of those darkish occasions.
One in every of my favourite activists is Dorothy Day, who is thought for residing in solidarity with the poor and getting arrested for the rights of others. However she can be identified for her perception within the responsibility of pleasure, of being linked to the small joys and pleasures of being alive: a chunk of pie, a scorching cup of espresso, a tree blooming within the spring, a favourite novel. Dorothy Day lived and fought for the humanity of her neighbors till her dying. Is it attainable that she was capable of reside her life the way in which she did as a result of she pursued pleasure within the midst of a world choked with despair?
Generally it actually does really feel like we live in a wilderness, the place xenophobia, racism, financial inequality, and misogyny have stripped our societies naked. However this Creation season, I’m going to attempt to look deeper. I’ll study from the Israelites earlier than me, and from these just like the Coalition of Immokalee Employees, that the struggle for justice can be a struggle for pleasure. I’ll stroll in that precarious steadiness of getting each the responsibility of despair and the responsibility of pleasure. I’ll maintain strolling the highway in entrance of me, trusting that in the future we will attain the brand new metropolis collectively, singing songs and consuming in the home of the Lord, the place the meals are marked by laughter, not tears.
God, give us eyes to see each our neighbors who’re struggling within the fields and factories of our communities and the eyes to see glimpses of your magnificence at work on the planet right here and now. Give us the resilience wanted to not cease the work till each single particular person in our group is flourishing. Take our impoverished desires for the world and substitute them along with your expansive, joyful wishes. Bless those that are on the forefront of the struggle for justice, and provides them a style of your pleasure immediately. Amen.
Be taught extra about how farmworkers from Immokalee and shoppers throughout the nation are working to develop the good points of the Honest Meals Program to cowl 1000’s of extra staff by bringing Wendys into the Honest Meals Program. Unfold the phrase concerning the Wendys Boycott via which shoppers and farmworkers are demanding Wendys signal a legally binding settlement to make use of its buying energy to ensure farmworkers rights similar to McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, and Yum! Manufacturers (Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut) are already doing.
Looking for a present that issues this Christmas? Once you make a donation to the Honest Meals Program in honor of somebody, you present goes to guard and advance farmworkers’ human rights. And the Honest Meals Program has lovely vacation playing cards you possibly can print or which may be emailed. Give a present of justice, respect, and hope immediately.