This coming Sunday is designated as Children’s Sabbath, a multifaith celebration in existence for 29 years, sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund. The purpose of the Children’s Sabbath, as stated in their material, “… is to unite faith communities of every religious tradition across our country to raise awareness of the problems facing children, explore the texts in traditions that call us to protect children with love and justice, and to engage people of faith in action to nurture protect, and seek justice for children. The theme this year is “Reimagining Our Future: Justice and Joy for All Children”.
I know how important children are to our congregation and so I share with you excerpts from Marian Wright Edelman’s 2020 letter, which is also a call to action. I invite you to be creative in thinking of ways we, as individuals and as a church, can work towards making such a future possible for all children.
In the name of Jesus, who loves all children,
Like so many other aspects of our lives this year, the 2020 Children’s Sabbath celebrations will take new forms as most of us are still maintaining physical distance while striving for social and spiritual connection and working for justice with renewed urgency in the face of extraordinary crises including the COVID pandemic, entrenched poverty, racism, mental health challenges, and lack of housing, education, employment, and more. Our collective national trauma and anguish around these profound concerns present an opportunity to reimagine our future to ensure justice and joy and protection for all children remain at the center. This time of upheaval invites us not to return to the past, but to envision and begin to work together toward that better future every child deserves free of poverty, free of preventable violence, and free of political leadership heedless of the needs of all of our people and the guiding principles of our nation of equal justice and care for all.
As I wrote in a Child Watch column, “A Glory Glory Hallelujah Time?!”: Is our long-awaited real United States of America baby about to be born?! The one our enslaved ancestors, grandparents, parents and community co-parents died and struggled for—a real United States of America—with liberty and justice for all? It’s way past time to clarify which God we truly trust in our nation—the god of our money, currency, and American capitalism as we know it—or the God of our Native American ancestors, enslaved ancestors, African and African-American ancestors, civil rights martyrs and mothers and fathers who taught us to love one another—not enslave, exploit, abuse, lynch, segregate or disrespect one another. Isn’t it time to stop using God as a logo on our currency and follow the true God of our authentic faiths? And isn’t it past time to celebrate and protect the sanctity of all human beings oppressed by genocide, slavery and racial discrimination for any reason everywhere?
On the 2020 Children’s Sabbath weekend and throughout the year to come we will be joining together to “fashion a world that will hold all the people,” to work with courage so that the world of justice and peace that God intends will be born. The Children’s Sabbath page on CDF’s website offers “evergreen” Children’s Sabbath resources that may be used every year. We are also offering a variety of resources for 2020 celebrations that may be used for virtual Children’s Sabbath worship, education, and action—or for in-person Children’s Sabbath events.
The 2020 Children’s Sabbath actions focus on voter education and turnout. Children can’t vote, but adults can and must vote with children’s interests in mind. Ask the young people in your lives what problems they hope elected leaders will act on. Reimagining a future with justice and joy for all children at the center includes electing leaders who will help us put in place the priorities and policies that families need to not only survive but thrive. And it requires congregations, communities, and individuals who recognize that our role in a democracy doesn’t begin and end on election day but compels us throughout the year to lift a faithful voice for the leadership we need.
Thank you for your faithful commitment to children and for the ways you are working for justice in this most challenging time. We look forward to hearing about how you and your place of worship participate in the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths this year.
With hope and faith,
Marian Wright Edelman
Founder and President Emerita, Children’s Defense Fundclick here to download this week's bulletin!