As we enter a new year, 2016, I reflect on 2015, the year you were born. It has been a time of upheaval in our society - so many major issues are being questioned and re-examined - from race, to sexuality, to religion, to basic rights, to the earth we depend on for our life and sustenance. The day you were born, only an hour-and-a-half from where you were, Baltimore’s streets erupted with riots in reaction to police brutality. All around the world, the effects of climate change are being felt, from a drought in California, to unseasonable weather in places across the globe, to flooding right here in Central Pennsylvania. Acts of terrorism have occurred around the world, and people are afraid, which sometimes makes us act with hostility toward one another. Each generation has its challenges - grappling with these issues will be yours.
But, dear one, there is hope; and we take small and large steps towards it. <<Click to Tweet
Some days that may just mean a kind act towards a fellow human being; other days, it may be something bigger. When you were just about two months old, the decision was made by our Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage. Right around the same time, Congress voted to keep the Affordable Care Act. The Black Lives Matter movement has swept the country, joining people together to assert the value of justice and work against racism. There have also been displays of solidarity towards Muslims on large as well as small scales, like churches who have banded together to sponsor refugee families or write letters to mosques, expressing support and love in a time of fear. In reaction to climate change, 159 countries have met in Paris and pledged to reduce carbon emissions - a monumental act that shows increased global awareness of this vital issue.
I know these are complex topics; none of them are simple and without gradations, but when we see glimpses of hope, we join in celebrating them.
When you were just five weeks old, you slept in your daddy’s arms while I, your mom, sang “Ella’s Song” by Sweet Honey in the Rock with five dear friends at a fundraising concert in Washington, D.C. Though you were sleeping, and too little to understand these words, It is a song that I, your mother, will continue to sing to you as you grow, a song written in tribute to Ella Baker, the civil rights leader, the meaning of which is as relevant today as it was years ago when it was written in the 1990s.
As the saying goes, you are born into privilege - a white male in one of the wealthiest countries on earth, born to educated parents. I pray that you will spend your life grappling with that privilege and using it for good. God has placed you in this time and this place for a reason - “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
I pray that the way you choose to engage these issues will be rooted in a belief that we will do our best to instill in you: you are loved by God. Nothing you do or don’t do can change that. God knew you when you were in my womb, you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). I pray that you “may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:18-19).
Before you were born, at your baby shower, women gathered around me to bless you and pray for you. One friend prayed that you would be “a prisoner of hope.” We, your parents, pray the same. No matter what challenges you face, or your generation faces, we pray that you will have hope and courage. Know that you are not alone. As the verse from Ephesians says you will be “with all the saints” past, present, and future. We pray that you will surround yourself with other “saints” who will also follow Jesus in a broken and hurting world that is filled with beauty.
Love you always and forever,
Micalagh Beckwith Moritz is a social worker, writer, wife, sister, daughter, community member, continually learning how to do a better job at each of these roles. She is always contemplating how to love others better and to enjoy the small things of life; to see God in everything and everyone. She is passionate about caring for the environment, experiencing new cultures, and also important, eating cheese. She currently resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Read her #FaithStory HERE.