Snuggling into Girls Retreat with cozy blankets last weekend, I enjoyed the freedom of Time. I committed the two days to write and to catch up on thinking adult thoughts. I came hoping to focus and reenergize, breathing in the clean West Texas air and watching the sunset sparkle on the glassy surface of the Brazos.
Specifically, I prioritized a few things. I told myself that I would wakeup to the morning slowly, take pictures in pretty light, and meditate on words I’ve been unraveling in my mind – DARE, SATISFIED, HUNGER, FLOURISH.
And, on a lighter note, I told myself that I would prioritize watching Oprah’s Golden Globe acceptance speech. I had been thinking about it all week as listeners tweeted their approval and news outlets prioritized the content as moving and remarkable.
So, Saturday evening, my hands wrapped around a toasty mug of Earl Grey tea, I committed a few minutes to the task. I Googled “The Time is Up” and clicked on the YouTube link that appeared to be the speech. My eyes followed the camera’s lens as it scanned the room. Hollywood’s brightest talent filled the oversized formal dining tables, and they joined in what seemed like a full two minutes of applause after Oprah Winfrey was named the recipient for the Cecile B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement. I joined in with my own silent applause, and I was quieted with the audience as Ms. Winfrey began to speak her appreciation. I think I was expecting a brief two minute speech, thought provoking and motivational, but I admit I was caught off guard by the message she spoke.
I was unnerved as I listened. Her words stirred a range of emotions I wasn’t expecting to confront. I guess I wasn’t prepared to feel joy, anger, love, fear, hope — all in a matter of six minutes.
Whether the former journalist turns President or fades into the background as the most acclaimed and most wealthy African American woman to live amongst the history pages, there is one assertion I feel comfortable making. Oprah Winfrey will be remembered for the speech she gave last Sunday evening. It may have been the single most influential five-ish minutes spoken in the history of the Golden Globes (not counting, of course, the Tina Fey-Amy Poehler 2013-2015 introductory monologues). Her storytelling was spellbinding. Her confidence communicated solidarity. And she used her platform to speak for the past, the present, and the future. For all women.
The time is up.
Oprah is not alone. She may be the lead spokeswoman for the “TIME’S UP” movement, but she works with a group of hard-working, dedicated women whose professions lead them to organize everything “behind the scenes.” And on the front stage, she is joined by a diverse, well-respected group of Hollywood actresses — Reese Witherspoon, America Ferrera, Natalie Portman.
Not only is Oprah surrounded by a supportive community in the “Time’s Up” movement, she is delivering a message that we’ve heard before. In fact, this message is ages old. And its meaning resonates with us because its power originates from another spokesperson. When he speaks, his words stir a wide range of emotions in this ready-to-fight-for-justice Mother-Wife-Writer-Friend.
He is Jesus.
Jesus started this movement.
After he willingly subjected himself to suffering severe temptation at the hands of Satan, Jesus silenced Satan, asserting, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (Luke 4:12). He put an end to the liar’s twisting of Scripture by saying, in his own way, This is enough. Your time with me is up.
After approaching the temple in Jerusalem in anticipation of Passover, Jesus finds the money changers and merchants conducting business inside the temple’s outer courts. This is wrong, he proclaims. ” Get these (animals) out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” (John 2:16). He calls out the people’s complete disregard for what is holy and sacred, and he puts an end to the desecration. This is enough. Your time here is up.
After enduring a criminal’s sentence, grueling hours of exhaustion and pain I swallow hard even to think about, he speaks words of comfort and protection for his nearby, heart-broken mother. And then he utters his last words from his last breath on Earth, “It is finished” (John 19:30). This is enough. My time, on earth, is up.
This is enough. These ways of doing things; they will not be willingly endured anymore.
This is not a new story, but we are sinful and forgetful and sometimes, dull. So, we need to be reminded again and again.
With the #metoo movement, women are uniting. They are rallying together to stand as a united force against those who have chosen, since the beginning of the Fall, to turn “a blind eye to corruption and injustice, to tyrants and victims, to secrets and lies.”
We have viewed ourselves as the weaker sex, and in many ways, when assessing physical strength we are weaker than our male counterparts. This weakness has led many of us to perceive our weaknesses as debilitating. We have looked in the mirror and despised ourselves for our imperfections and allowed our disappointments to feed a fear that is unjustified and unhealthy.
Our fears have perpetuated our distrust, to the point that many of us do not trust our only source of humanity. We do not even trust our own bodies.
How long will Christian women sit and wonder, Is it appropriate for me to speak about what is going on out there? How long will we say, What’s going on out there doesn’t really affect me? How long will we believe our voice is only a minority in the plethora of female voices and that speaking up is probably just a waste of time?
Women abiding in Christ have a responsibility to speak up now and share in the sisterhood that binds women to speak for how they were created. Standing off to the side and separating ourselves from the women “over there” will leave the church believing that it doesn’t have a voice. But it does. IT MUST.
We need to speak about how our bodies have been assaulted and abused and pillaged at the hands of those who take advantage of the weak. Because it pours into a bigger picture of how we see ourselves.
When we begin believing that there is strength to be gained by seeing ourselves as cherished, satisfied, beautiful, formidable, and well worth the effort of preserving, then we start believing these bodies are worth the effort of taking care of, worth the emotional energy of respecting, worth the reshaping of our imaginations to protect. We will have to stare down weight stigma and body shame with a steadfast, piercing glare, call it out for what it is, which is a sack full of LIES, and shove it to the curb.
Because the time is now.
The time is up.
Jesus came to preach it. He came to live it. And he died for it.
Jesus has always been the embodiment of hope in the midst of heart breaking confession. Jesus has always been the hands and feet of love in the midst of violence and oppression. Jesus has always been the voice of life that emerges in the swells that speak of death.
Father, help us believe in the POWER of Your Son, Jesus, who reminds us that our desire for righteousness is worth fighting for. We go out there, assured of your blessing.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).