I march because when I was in my early twenties and was a student I didn't have a lot of money and when I needed birth control, I went to planned parenthood and was able to afford birth control because it was on a sliding scale so you paid what you were able. I had family and friends who made tough decisions and needed their services.
I march because 18 years ago I gave my life to follow Jesus, who calls me to enter into places where people or lost, last, least and be on their side. I am to find the lost, serve the least, and remember that my role isn't to be first but last. In John's gospel, there are two stories about woman that help inform my thoughts. In John 8, we have a story of Jesus who is confronted with a moral dilemma and how to deal with it.
2Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”Jesus was teaching in the temple when the religious leaders wanted to test him, challenge him, make him conform to their morality and reading of God's will. So here is a woman - she was caught in adultery. We don't know what this means. But the rule no matter the reason required her to be punished. They wanted Jesus to choose the law over a person. They wanted to see her as their words - whore, slut, pussy, bitch. They kept speaking to him, questioning him. Jesus final said. "If you are without sin, throw the first stone." One by one everyone left. Jesus than told her he didn't see her by their terms, he didn't judge her. He then said she should go on her way and not sin again,, don't miss the mark, remember to turn back toward God. Jesus invited us to think about our place with people we are judging and to remember he didn't judge instead he invited her to turn back to God and begin again. I march because judgement isn't my call, love is.
I march for women who have been seen as not right, as not fully human, as disqualified and unwanted. There is a story in John 4 about Jesus encountering a woman at a well. Jesus was traveling through territory where people were considered the neighbors but not liked neighbors. These were neighbors who practiced their religion differently, because of where they believed God was to be worshiped. This woman that Jesus spoke to is a woman rejected by others, called names by others, treated poorly by others. I march because we live in a time when we do not have to segregate into a camps based on religion, class, ethnicity, race. I march to say that we are meant to be in relationship with each other, speak to each other, share a drink together, and talk about the big things in life. I march to say that we are called to be more than what was presented in this past year as a time to separate into our own tribes where we don't talk to each other. I march because you are beloved, human, my sister and brother. We are shown by Jesus that we can talk to each other across lines, we can learn from each other and be changed by these encounters. I march for this country that has become a place where it is possible to be rainbow community of ethnicity, class, sexuality, race, immigration status. I march to say we have had setbacks, we haven't always listened as well as we should, we haven't fought hard enough for your rights and protection, but I will do better. I will learn from you.
I march because I can't keep quiet.