Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
Yeah we knuckin’ and buckin’ and ready to fight
I betcha I’m’a throw dem thangs
So haters best to think twice
See me I ain’t nothin nice
Knuck If You Buck by Crime Mob
Advent is about community. The whole world holds a collective breath as God is born in human flesh. We wait for who he is to be: a King? A prince? A God? None of the above. He is a carpenter who proclaims he can open your eyes to see that community is the only way forward.
That’s what abolition is, too: it’s community.
Abolition is hard work of getting to know your neighbor, the messiness of family. But conflicts or injustices arise within our closest community, many don’t handle it with carceral knowledge. So what do you do when harm has been done? On a macro level, what do you do when the people we pay our tax dollars to are really nothing but modern-day slave catchers?
I believe Advent – the season of anticipating Christ’s birth – is really a celebration of the end of the world.
The prophet Isaiah declares,“the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released, and prisoners will be freed” (Is. 61:1, NLT). When I read this scripture, I don’t hear a promise of some far-off paradise that we all just hope we can reach, but rather a call to the here and now. I hear a call of the end of the world. I hear the hard work of community. I hear God the Criminal dying at the hands of the State saying to other prisoners, “today you will be with me in paradise” (Lk. 23:43). When we are called to bring the kingdom of heaven here, we bring an end to anti-blackness, the carceral state, and all demonic forms of oppression. This is the end of the world.
What if our world is one meant to be free from prisons and cops? What if God didn’t come down only to declare your sins forgiven; what if his death was a declaration of the abolition of the world? Scripture implies Christ was crucified before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). What if this world was always meant to be one where we learn community, love and honor? What if Jesus’ words are true, that only he can heal hearts and open eyes that have been blinded to the injustices of this world (Mt. 13:15).
There are no easy answers in community, but since when does anything have to be easy for it to be true? Nobody can do the hard work of figuring out what those around you need. That’s the thing about Advent: it never promises you easy, but it does say it will set you free. It says that prisoners like us all are meant to be liberated. Advent promises the Abolition of the World.
Argentina Reeves is an abolitionist that lives in Texas. When she’s not cuddling with her cat, she’s dreaming about the end of the world.