Whatever The Hardship, Keep Rising Up!
CrossOver reflection for Week 26 • Beginning June 2, 2019
We Make the Road by Walking, Chapter 39
Rev. Kathleen Weber
Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. (God) doesn’t grow tired or weary. (God’s) understanding is beyond human reach, giving power to the tired and reviving the exhausted.
… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will fly up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be tired; they will walk and not be weary.
Isaiah 40:28-31 CEB
What does it look like to rise up whatever the hardship? Who embodies strength in the midst of adversity?
UTOPIA Seattle (United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance)is a LGBTQ, people of color-led, grassroots organization born out of the struggles, challenges, strength, and resilience of the Queer and Trans Pacific Islander (QTPI – “Q-T-pie”) community in South King County (Washington State). Their mission is to provide sacred spaces to strengthen the minds and bodies of QTPIs through community organizing, community care, civic engagement and cultural stewardship. UTOPIA was founded and is led by women of color, identifying as transgender and/or fa’afafine. Fa’afafine is a third cultural gender identity native to Samoa. This gender identity extends beyond a binary notion of gender (e.g., man or woman), similar to other cultures within and beyond the Pacific Islands (In Hawaiian, Mahu; in some indigenous cultures, two spirit; and in India, hijira). I suggest this short clip “The Meaning of Mahu” from the PBS Independent Lens film, “A Place in the Middle” to better understand this third gender.
I recently went to UTOPIA’s annual fundraising luau. Before this event, I knew nothing of the organization or the
In this week’s reading, Whatever The Hardship, Keep Rising Up!, McClaren suggests that throughout Christian history, moments of hardship have always offered the movement an opportunity. An opportunity to practice interdependence, grow in our trust of God, and of course, love more fully and more deeply. He writes, “If we don’t give up at that breaking point when we feel we’ve reached the end of our own resources, we find a new aliveness, the life of the risen Christ rising within us.” This echoes a sentiment delivered by the prophet Isaiah, “(God) doesn’t grow tired or weary. (God’s) understanding is beyond human reach, giving power to the tired and reviving the exhausted…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”
As we face the different challenges in our life—whether grief, isolation, fear of the unknown, coming out, marginalization or oppression—we can continually turn to our God, the Wellspring of hope, strength, and resilience. We can also turn to
What stories of resilience do you turn to for inspiration and strengthen? What ritual, scripture, song, poem, or picture gives you hope in the midst of difficult times?
Rev. Kathleen Weber serves as Superintendent for the Crest to Coast Missional District in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.