By Lesley-Ann Hix
Earlier this week seven McAfee students joined the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Washington D.C. for Advocacy in Action. This four day immersion focused on themes of poverty, transformation and the Christian response. The group met with CBF partner organizations such as Bread for the World and the Baptist Joint Committee. Conversation on advocacy, poverty and political processes took place as the group met with political leaders. Below is the response from one McAfee student at the end of her week on Capitol Hill.
There are beloved people in my life who live in the pains of marginalization every day, and my hear hurts for them. My feet move, rushing to stand with them and wishing to take on their marginalization alongside them.
I see the dedication, and the perseverance, and the creativity, and the imagination, and the beautiful pride in a work well done in the faces of those I spend time with every week. Volunteering at an afterschool program at Park Avenue Baptist in southeast Atlanta, I know the faces, voices, laughter, and dedication of boys who experience the struggle of structural poverty as a daily reality. They work hard because they want to by lawyers and pediatricians one day. But real life gets in the way most weeks, demanding their time and energy be channeled away from school. So I want to rush to do whatever it takes to take down this system that is tying them into poverty.
But Devita emailed us last week and told us we would have to meet with our representatives, and suddenly I had no words. As Tuesday approached, my voice got shakier, my confidence disappeared, and my story fell apart.
“Who am I that I should go?”
Every Wednesday I go to share some Spanish vocabulary with Matthew, and every once in a while try to figure out those Algebra problems with Darius. I'm there to help them with their homework, but they are my community of faith. They hold me accountable to the calling of my life and my attempt to follow Jesus as best as I can. They help me worship and feed my soul like no other institution can. Jesus is there with us on Wednesdays, with them it's always holy ground.
Our God is a God of compassion. And our compassionate God, the one who has called us to speak on behalf of those who can't, comes down and suffers alongside the oppressed, never leaving their side.
“I have heard them crying…so I have come down to rescue them.”
Because God favors the poor and the oppressed, we have no greater calling than to work to further the kingdom through advocacy. By being their voice and by helping them find the power of their own voice, we are honoring God with the biggest re-creative power we have.
Just like Moses, no matter how small I felt making my way through the maze of congressional offices on Tuesday, no matter how few words I thought I had, they were all there. And just like Moses, my voice didn't fail me. God walks with us and energizes us as we proclaim the prophetic apocalyptic message of justice and renewal that God has placed on our lips.
Lesley-Ann Hix is a second-year seminary student at McAfee School of Theology studying Global Christianity.