Today’s reflection comes from Rev. Lisa Horst Clark
There are some kinds of stories that are sacred to hear, because they are personal, vulnerable and require a great deal of trust between the teller and the listener. Such stories can not be demanded, only given when a relationship has cultivated trust. It is a gift to get a glimpse into someone’s life, in all its vulnerability and all the ways that God is at work for wholeness and healing. For me as a pastor, I include abortion stories in that number, which is a sacred honor to hear.
For those who have had abortions, their stories are based in the particulars: where a person is in their life, how they find themselves in the midst of relationship, economic circumstance, or the intersecting worlds of power and violence. A person’s story can be centered on the children they currently have, and what they need in order to care for them. A story can touch on the particularities of health and embodiment, and abortion which can be necessary for healing. I have never heard an abortion story taken lightly. But part of what makes hearing an abortion story particularly sacred, is that in the way that this has been treated over the last decades, it requires a great degree of trust to speak.
With the news this week coming out of the Supreme Court, I know there is a lot of fear and emotion. In particular for me, I am feeling the gap and the chasm between the legalism and the lived reality of people who can become pregnant.
When I picture Jesus with the women he encountered—the hemorrhaging woman, the woman at the well, Mary and Martha in their grief, the woman accused of adultery as those with stones approached—he saw each woman first as a child of God. Even amidst the powers of shame in the world, Jesus saw these women with love and compassion. He saw the intrinsic worth of their healing and wellbeing.
As we approach the time to come, I am going to be holding space for personal sacred stories and choices. How can we support the sacred worth of people who can become pregnant, in this time and in the time to come?
If you have not heard abortion stories from those that you know, I would invite you to take time with some that have been shared publicly with courage. My friend and colleague Rev. Katey Zeh, of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, shares some of those stories in her book “A Complicated Choice.” If you are holding your own grapplings and questions, I encourage us to enter into conversation centered in love. If you are holding your own story today, know I am caring for you in love as well.
I believe that God sees the tender stories of our lives and is with us amidst the choices in each particular journey. May we be witnesses to Jesus’ words of affirmation and acts of courage for women he knew. May God be with us, no matter what may come, to show us how to follow with love.
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