It has been an incredibly challenging
and sometimes discouraging year in all parts of the world. Daily news
reports tell stories and show pictures of violence, human exploitation,
economic stress, rampant hunger, and the environmental crisis before us.
Regardless of the form of government,
democracy or dictatorship, dialog and negotiation seems to be at a standstill
in the places where public policy decisions are made. The craving for
power, greed, and supremacy seem to be taking the place of compassion and care.
Closer to home, we are aware that the
decision making logjam in the halls of the U.S. Congress and the White House
has resulted in disappointment and frustration for many who are committed to
advocate for justice and fairness. This is evidenced in a recent Gallup
Poll that indicates that the seven percent approval rating of Congress is at
its lowest point in history; coupled with the 38-43 percent rating for the
The poor economy worldwide is certainly
one of the factors at play; however other key issues such as jobs, the federal
budget deficit, and the failure of the "super-committee" to reach
agreement on deficit reduction contribute to the lack of confidence in our
public officials among the American people.
All this cannot help but be hard on the
human spirit. We do need hopeful inspiration and courage to turn the
tide. At times like this it is important to remember the words of Dr.
Martin Luther King shared decades ago, "The arc of the moral universe is
long but it bends towards justice."
The good news is that people of many
faiths are joining together to raise a unified voice for that which is morally
right. What is becoming clear is that we do not have to agree about
everything, but we do have a mutual obligation to care for all that is God’s
We are called to be a BOLD PUBLIC VOICE
setting our sights toward the common good so that the marginalized are not
In spite of this discouraging landscape,
we stand strong as people of faith committed to ensure that the dignity of each
person is realized. We must not weaken our resolve especially as the year
turns into an election time that promises to be filled with hotly contested
debates. Each one of us can be a voice of inspiration and courage.
As Christians, our base of inspiration
comes from the example set by Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at this holy time
For everything that was written in the
past was written to teach us, so that through theendurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement
they provide we might have hope.May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you
the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. (Romans
We are inspired by these ancient words
and by the thousands of voices speaking out today. Thank you for never
giving up. Thank you for continuing the journey. In the New Year,
let’s keep working in faithful solidarity to light the flame of hope and kindle
the fires of justice. Take courage in knowing that with God
nothing is impossible.
The Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo is executive minister of the
UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries and a member of its five person Collegium
of Officers. This article original appeared as "Witness for Justice