Solidarity as a Christian practice is not something we teach in Sunday school, but we ought to. We often use this word in association with other things like generosity, empathy, or support. But it means far more than any of these single ideas.
The most compelling example of solidarity in all of history is Christ himself.
God becoming human, becoming one of us, not just suffering like us, but suffering with us is the greatest act of solidarity. God knows what we go through because he became one of us. There is no solidarity greater than this.
Jesus not only demonstrates solidarity but demands it of us, his followers.
The fundamental revelation in Jesus’ teaching, often called “The Sheep and Goats” (Matthew 25), is that Jesus himself experiences a cosmic-level solidarity with the suffering⏤and that what we do to the “least of these brothers and sisters” we do unto him. He did not use this parable inspirationally, as in “Imagine that the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned are me, and treat them the way you would treat me, someone you love and serve”. Instead, he spoke in a declarative way that violates our understanding of time and space: “What you have done to the least of these you have done unto me”.
It is cosmic. It is final. Jesus is in such deep solidarity with the suffering that he experiences what they experience. He experiences their suffering, rejection, hunger, and thirst⏤but he also experiences their relief! Can you imagine giving Jesus a meal? It is beyond our comprehension yet demands action from us.
This Christmas season we are reflecting on Christ’s solidarity on multiple levels, and asking what this means for us.
- The incarnation itself was the greatest act of solidarity. God became one of us. What God is this who becomes one of us? I think of the lyrics from John Mark McMillan’s song, “The Road, the Rocks, and the Weeds”:
Come down from your mountain, your high-rise apartment
And tell me of the God you know who bleeds
And what to tell my daughter when she asks so many questions
And I fail to fill her heaviness with peace
When I've got no answers for hurt knees or cancers
But a Savior who suffers them with me
Singing goodbye, Olympus, the heart of my Maker
Is spread out on the road, the rocks, and the weeds
- When God became one of us he could have chosen any life⏤yet he chose that of a refugee. Shortly after Jesus was born, his family had to flee to Egypt to escape violence. How many in our world are living through this very nightmare!
- Finally, how we can follow Jesus on this journey of solidarity specifically with migrants and refugees? The solidarity challenge is a tool to help you and your family or community grow in solidarity with migrants and refugees. Through prayer, embodied action, and focused reflection, we hope to provide a catalyst to encounter God’s relentless love and solidarity with the suffering, and to leave that encounter equipped for action. It is an invitation to the Holy Spirit to speak to us, and shape us.