It is true; Joining Hands is about fighting injustices, transforming the systems that prevent God’s people from rejoicing in the abundant life for which they have been created. It is about working through peaceful means to change local and global conditions. We hear in Mary’s Magnificat that this too is the message of Christmas – to bring down rulers from their thrones and lift up the humble, to fill the hungry with good things and send the rich away empty.
Joining Hands is also about celebrating community, building solidarity, and thoughtfully and patiently participating together in the long, and sometimes slow process of actively expecting with confidence in the Peace, Joy and Love that is to come; the message of Advent. Joining Hands is also about Hope.
Hope is not optimism. Advent hope…is not the belief that everything will work out for us if we just believe. Advent hope…is that the power of the empire will be overthrown and the poor will be able to live their lives in peace and plenty. Advent hope is not that a pretty baby will appear in the manger and sales will rise and the economy will resurrect. Advent hope is that empires will fall: all empires, with their idolatry, their gluttony, their pollution, their wars, their intrigue, their murder, and their weapons. Advent hope is that we will transform our minds - which will then require us to transform our world.”
Through this process we were able to embrace a hope that guides us and gives us purpose, a hope that inspires us to work together to build the world in which we would like to live, and a hope that invites us to live for the day when the nations shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.