2017 / by Sarah Schwartz

I began 2017 with love and lament—wrestling with the evangelical tradition that birthed me, and so often looks for reason to give up the very people our faith calls us to protect for political and cultural gain.

I ventured into poetry with Rulestell me how it’s okay for one hand to paw at my pussy, as long as the other is signing papers to keep brown people out... (I also marched with 750,000 Angelenos who believe that "defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.")

Life came back through the hard work of dragging my ass to therapy and taking my medication, the faithfulness of friends and worn edges of poetry books, and plenty of stopping to breathe and admire the bougainvillea.

I flew home often to visit my Grandmother, and we sorted through the trash and treasure my Grandfather left us when he passed last spring.

I started shopping ethically, thanks to my friend Ellie over at Selflessly Styled.

I got to be a part of creating and launching my alma mater's first women's resource collective, GRIT. (File under "life long dreams").

Charlottesville happened, and we do not get to go back to sleep.

I officiated my friends Natalie & Joey's wedding, and became an officiant for hire through Young, Hip & Married! (what's up Southern CA, hire me to pronounce you wed!)

We began a public reckoning of a culture that allows the Weinsteins of the world to prey on women with little to no consequence.

I took up arms in the War on Christmas—banning refugees in need of sanctuary.

As part of the completion of my master's program, I got to write a short statement that was read as I was hooded.

Oh, did I not mention that I finished my M.A. in Theology? I have not even begun to process the closing of that four and half year chapter of my life, but for now I'll just say hither by Thy help I've come.

As we dream of what 2018 might be, I'm meditating on the words of Dr. Mika Edmonson,

"You cannot love your neighbor while supporting or accepting systems that crush, exploit, and dehumanize them. You cannot love your neighbor while accepting less for them and their family than you do for you and your own."

In 2017, we saw women, immigrants, the poor, and communities of color exploited and dehumanized, but we also saw a flood of resistance, of neighbor defending neighbor, of hope and love and the unsexy work of day in and day out activism.

In 2018, let's renew our commitment to radical neighbor love, and all of the humility, sacrifice, and hard work that it entails.

***

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

-Matthew 25, The Message