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Center for Action and Contemplation

An Uprising for Justice

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Theologian and Episcopal priest Kelly Brown Douglas compares the Risen Jesus’ instruction to his disciples to meet him in Galilee (Mark 16:6–8) and our own encounter with the risen Christ when we stand against injustice. 

In asking his disciples to meet him in Galilee, Jesus was indeed calling them to imagine something different for the world. Jesus was asking them to imagine a world where life, not death, is centered. . . . The Resurrected Jesus resurrected his disciples by inviting them away from the despair of death that was the cross into the hope of new life that was the resurrection. A community that had given up on the possibilities for life, that had lost faith in the gospel that Jesus preached, was called back into life-giving ministry. This is what the invitation to Galilee was all about.

When I remembered this Galilean invitation, as I stood in my own existential despair of crucifying Black deaths, it was as if I was being invited to Galilee to meet the resurrected Jesus. . . .

Douglas participated in a protest in support of Black lives and was filled with unexpected joy and what she calls “resurrecting hope”:

As I stood there in what seemed like a sea of people, my [spontaneous] laughter was nothing less than a signal of transcendence pointing me to the resurrecting hope that had disrupted the seeming futility of crucifying Black death. . . .

Standing in that small space of Black Lives Matter Plaza in front of the White House was the most motley and diverse crew of God’s sacred creation that I had seen come together in protest. They reflected an “otherwise way of being in the world.” They were Black, white, brown, Asian and non-Asian, Latinx and non-Latinx, queer and non-queer, trans and non-trans, bi-gendered and non-bi-gendered. They were also young and old and everything in between. . . . People were there advocating, each in their own way, for a world that looked more like God’s just future: a future where all people were living in the peace that was justice. They were embodying that very future. [1]

CAC teacher Brian McLaren envisions much the same in a world saturated by the Risen Christ’s presence:

Resurrection has begun. We are part of something rare, something precious, something utterly revolutionary.

It feels like an uprising. An uprising of hope, not hate. An uprising armed with love, not weapons. An uprising that shouts a joyful promise of life and peace, not angry threats of hostility and death. It’s an uprising of outstretched hands, not clenched fists. It’s the “someday” we have always dreamed of, emerging in the present, rising up among us and within us. It’s so different from what we expected—so much better. This is what it means to be alive, truly alive. This is what it means to be en route, walking the road to a new and better day. Let’s tell the others: the Lord is risen! [2]

[1] Kelly Brown Douglas, Resurrection Hope: A Future Where Black Lives Matter (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2021), 188, 190, 192, 195.

[2] Brian D. McLaren, We Make the Road by Walking (New York: Jericho Books, 2014), 170.

Explore Further. . .

Image credit: Suzanne Szasz, Window Box at 69th Street (detail), 1973, photograph, New York, public domain, National Archives. Jenna Keiper, Icon at the Center for Action and Contemplation (detail), 2021, photograph, New Mexico, used with permission. Suzanne Szasz, At High Rock Park on Staten Island (detail), 1973, photograph, New York, public domain, National Archives. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States.

This week’s images appear in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story. 

Image inspiration: We are invited to fully experience resurrection wherever we are. Can you sense it? See it? Smell it? Touch it? It’s all around.

Story from Our Community:

Grief transformed my life when my 57-year-old husband died of cancer. Every loss of my life was revived and amplified, from the death of a little sister the day she was born to my divorce. In the depth of loss and sadness, I become very quiet and still. There! What is that spark, that light, a lifeline of love that lets me know I am alive, and life is good? Others see it too, and others find the words that don’t stop the flow. Grace. God. Resurrection. Christ. Love.
—Karen B.

Share your own story with us.

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.


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