This past Sunday marked the beginning of Advent, a season in the Christian liturgical calendar when we are waiting for Jesus to be born. The season culminates on Christmas Day, when many gather with family, exchange gifts, spend time with loved ones to celebrate Jesus’ birth. The idea of deliberately waiting in a culture that screams “you deserve what you want and you should have it now!” is pretty counter-cultural. Waiting for Jesus to arrive can mean many things: waiting for an improvement in an area of your life, waiting for a shift in dynamics beyond your control, waiting for justice in an unjust landscape. Advent can be a season when the body of Christ labors together to restore this broken world while waiting for the arrival of Jesus.
The first day of Advent at North Broad, we prayed a prayer of solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters waiting for justice:
“Teach us to recognize that as we walk with each other, You are present.
Teach us to welcome not only the strangers in our midst but the gifts they bring as well:
the invitation to conversion, communion, and solidarity.
This is the help you have sent: we are not alone.”
Philadelphia is a “sanctuary city,” which means that city police do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement unless an undocumented person has a warrant or committed a violent crime. Mayor Kenney announced after the election that this would not change and that the term should be changed to “Fourth Amendment city” as it has always been unlawful to arrest someone without a warrant. Despite this present assurance, there are many unknowns in our political future that may impact our friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters. This time of uncertainty is an opportunity to start or continue working for the changes we want to see in our nation, our city, our community. Several members of Circle of Hope have chosen to partner with the New Sanctuary Movement, a group supporting immigrants and their families from raids and unjust treatment. Let’s continue to look for ways to connect and support one another despite what we think the future may hold.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” – Galatians 6:9-10
-Naomi Sonne, writing