By: Lori Kochanski, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America/Lutheran World Federation, CSW Delegate

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Entering this Holy Week I reflect on the sacred holy week I experienced as a participant in the events at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Every Good Friday I remember a little girl in the congregation in New Haven, CT, where I served as intern.  As we were walking the stations of the cross and listening to the story of Jesus she pulled at my hand and asked THE question: “why did he have to die if he didn’t do nothing?”  In a neighborhood where she witnessed violence every day she had grown used to understanding the consequences of life on the street.  She could not reconcile the innocent Jesus dying the same death as the drug dealers.

The question still goes to my heart and names the tensions in my own believing.  For me this is where faith is more important than belief.  Here is where I hope it is true that God can take my anger and questioning in the face of the world of injustices. Because after the holy week in New York of sacred walking and listening I hear echoes of the same question a little girl asked a long time ago:  “Why do girls and women have to die every day?  They have done nothing except be born.”  If Jesus died so that we are free then why are there still women and girls dying at the hands of violence and persecution.

My prayer right there is to find the places where hope can rise at intersections of suffering and pain.  In the rising I believe we will catch a glimpse of the promise of Christ rising from the dead.  This place of hope is constructed by the power of people to lament realities that only serve to harm another through misuse of power.  Hope takes flesh when we lay down our own swords and reach out to our neighbors in order to create a vision of humanity that includes both justice and freedom.  Hope is born from truth of reconciliation.  And it takes time and deliberate plans and collective advocacy.

As global partners in achieving the sustainable goals set out for the world by the United Nations we must hold each other accountable to our actions and inaction. We also must be willing to keep noticing the things that cause greatest harm, in particular harm to those who are most vulnerable.  To be more specific – women and girls.

Today, it is very easy to act as if the time at the United Nations was a dream, a parallel reality I can step out of and forget.  So for as tired as my brain was last week, I pray to become even more tired in my purpose and prayer of how to be of continued use in my own context.  I pray my vocation meets my call and a vision is revealed.  I trust there will be partners in the journey that it may be so.

Yet, we still have so far to go and so much to learn.  We have to find our place in the order of things.  Because…well, because promise.  Because, grace.  Because, freedom.  Because, faith.