by Carla Christopher
In liberation theology, we begin by asking ourselves the question "Where in all of this is the good news for the oppressed?" In the relentlessly capitalist framework that is the United States of America, there has been little good news for the traditionally marginalized over the past more than a century. We value working without rest, we prioritize output over balance, we playfully glorify the sacrifice of self for hyper-achievement. And still there are those who cannot find success within this paradigm, no matter how hard they work. Nearly impenetrable barriers stand between the realization of dreams and the most self-sacrificing and productive individuals among us. Where is the good news for reconstruction era formerly enslaved Americans who were promised land only to have those land grants revoked after a transition of presidential power? Where is the good news for World War II survivors who returned to America only to find banks that refused to honor their school loans or red-lined housing districts that refused homes to people of color? Where is the good news for the African decent youth who comes of age but is afraid to use their new driver's license, or the immigrant youth who is not allowed to get one at all?
The good news is offered freely on Palm Sunday, without strings and without a sacrifice of excessive or penitential labor, of battered and exhausted spirit, or of healthy self. Psalm 118 invites us without fanfare or condition to walk through the gates into the inner sanctum, along a way illuminated for us. When Luke tells the disciples again to walk boldly, in freedom and with confidence, it becomes even more clear. There is a colt waiting for you. Do not justify your need for the colt. Do not ask permission to take possession of the colt. Do not beg those in power for the right to receive a colt in exchange for the labor they designate as necessary exchange. Take. The. Colt. All that is in the world is the gift of God given for the people of God. Not for our own use, it is important to hear. Not for the selfish desires we have internalized from the world that gives us a message of 'be afraid, there's not enough to go around', but when "The Lord needs it".
The liberation to claim that which is ours through Christ is a gift to the traditionally marginalized people of this world who have had access and opportunity systematically denied. But it is also a gift to the rest of God's people; those who struggle under the weight of unrealistic expectation and an exhausting need to produce without pause while appearing 'okay'. The colt is all of ours to claim, to bring back to the loving arms of Jesus who will travel with us to the places God will bring us. What do you need permission to claim? That your autism makes you powerful and perceptive? That your recovery has given you empathy and resilience? That your trauma does not exclude you from being worthy of love and blessing? That your Blackness does not surrender you to a life of fear? That your queerness can give you a family, not take it away? Walk bravely into the freedom Christ's salvation has gifted to you. Take the colt without apology. Listen to the voice of Jesus. The colonized and fearful minds of naysayers will speak against your wild joy, but the Sustainer is with you. The very stones of the earth shout with you. Cry out. And walk with Christ into victory.