WTFWJD. Luke 1:48.
On this last day of #ShutTheHellUp, our featured contributor is Erica Littlewolf. Erica is Northern Cheyenne from southeastern Montana. She lives in Kansas and works for Mennonite Central Committee with the Indigenous Visioning Circle. She focuses on the Doctrine of Discovery, healing, and authentic relationships.
I have looked at Luke 1:48 more in the past week than I have in my entire lifetime, mostly because I agreed to write this Advent reflection. Might I also add, I’ve googled “Advent” and “Advent devotion” more in the last couple days than I care to admit. I’ve never been an “Advent-er”. I’m still trying to “feel” something during Advent — I’m still trying to understand what I’m waiting for.
I read Luke 1:48 without context and immediately felt disturbed. The use of adverbs and adjectives that I feel are negative made my stomach drop and eyebrows crinkle. Then I realized they hit a little close to home. Words that have been used to describe me, a Northern Cheyenne Indigenous woman and Indigenous people globally. We are the invisible population, decimated and colonized, struggling to survive as foreigners in our own land. People have classified us as the lowest of the lowly, only around to be of service to others because we prefer to live in our “old” ways.
I imagine non-Indigenous people trying to explain to me what the verse is really saying, trying to talk me into the context of the story, and denying me my visceral reaction. Once again asserting a religious domination over an already “doctrine of discovery-ed” reality.
To that — don’t tell me how to feel, don’t tell me what to feel. Advent has me on edge.
When I put it into context, I wonder if Jesus could have been Jesus without a virgin birth and without those who surrounded him. I find a point of connection in the idea that “it takes a village to raise a child.”
I am profoundly moved by the Virgin Mary and even more so when I read that some have said the true meaning of virgin means “a free woman, one not betrothed, not bound to, not possessed by any man,” which is not the idea of virgin I grew up knowing in the church.
I imagine the stereotypes and realities that Mary and Elizabeth lived with and realize that many women of color in the United States probably have been met with the same. It’s not hard to connect.
My ramblings and stream of consciousness has not yielded complete thoughts and tidy paragraphs. Instead I am left in a similar place in which I started…wondering who the truth tellers are, who they will be, and ultimately, what are we waiting for?