As fall was turning into winter we moved into a new house with a front yard and a backyard. Leaves still cover the ground, but we can still decipher remnants of a luscious garden that once was. A weathered greenhouse stands with a brick trimmed garden around it. We are told as the cul-de-sac welcomes us that the previous owners were avid gardeners. We continue to slowly brush away leaves to uncover dormant garden beds only to have more leaves hide everything away again. Each time we get a better glimpse of what Spring might bring. We also get an idea of the work we have ahead of us to help usher in a bountiful Spring and Summer. We watch where the sun hits throughout these short winter days in the hopes of scouting out a plot for a summer vegetable garden.
We can trust that the gardeners before us came and cared and we will patiently wait to see what blossoms. We will wait to see what is fruitful. And then we will slowly make changes with each season to form and perfect this garden before us. This is how we should also go about the work of social change. It’s not always sustainable to come in and rip up and re-plant right away. We must wait to see what’s there so we do not lose any previous good work that has been sowed. The good work of justice takes time. We must be prudential in what needs to be pulled and what may just need time and care to last through the year.
Let us learn how to slow down long enough to learn the soil and the light as it changes. Let us listen and adjust and be taught. Let us offer back beauty with patience. Good social change requires that we come alongside the community and take its lead. Good social change requires that we honor those that have come before us. We must listen from the back to the outcries from within before we start to move to action. Let us not carry ignorance and arrogance when we think our ideas are all that is needed. We enter into this work with humility that we come with hands to do the good work with others, not to or for them.
The work of ushering in the Kingdom of Heaven is good holy work, but it takes time and patience and humility. Let us be guided by grace. Let our faith move us to intentional and meaningful action, not defined by our good intentions, but defined by those suffering from the injustice.
Inspired by Advent with Saint Oscar Romero devotional written by Cameron Bellm.