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Advent Meditation: Monday, December 23, 2019

By The Rev. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan


Psalm 61, 62, 112, 115 •  Zephaniah 3:14-20  •  Luke 1:1-25

Luke 1 asks us to suspend reality and embrace absurdity. Girls are born with all their eggs. Eggs get old. Unless they have conceived previously, by age forty, most women can’t bear children. If she gets pregnant for the first time after age forty, the uterine lining often cannot sustain a pregnancy; having a disabled child increases exponentially. Barren women were ostracized.

Elizabeth and Zechariah are old. As priest at the sanctuary, and the congregation prays outside, Angel Gabriel tells Zechariah they will have a son who will lead people to God. Zechariah freaks!

Imagine a friend saying her grandparents are expecting. We’d laugh hysterically, call 911.

Zechariah becomes mute, and the folk realize he had a vision. Elizabeth later conceives and stays hidden for months. What did she think and feel?

As scandalous as this story is, our walk with God can be challenging. During Advent as we anticipate Christ’s coming, are we willing to work for justice? Will we name violence, lies, and fear-based hate? Do we see Jesus in the children on the border, in foster care? Are we hypocrites whose privilege has so blinded us that we blame others when our systems dictate that they remain “the have nots?” If called to be Elizabeth or Zechariah, will we say “here am I send me, send me!”

Loving God, in this season of anticipation, help us honor your image in all persons; to have an absurd faith, to your Glory!

The Rev. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, PhD
Crump Visiting Professor and Black Religious Scholars Group Scholar-in-Residence
Seminary of the Southwest


The Rev. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan is the visiting Black Religious Scholar and Crump Professor, 2019-2020 at the Seminary of the Southwest, Austin, TX, and an ordained minister in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Dr. Kirk-Duggan has written and edited over twenty-five books. 2009, 2011, 2017 Recipient of the Excellence in Academic Research Award, Shaw University, Kirk-Duggan is also the 2011 YWCA Academy of Women Honoree in Education, a 2011 Black Religious Scholars Group Honoree, a 2012 Womanist Legacy Honoree Recipient, March 2012, New York City; the 2013-2014 National Alumni Association Outstanding Faculty member of the Year, Shaw University, 2013 Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession of the Society of Biblical Literature Mentor Award Winner; 2015 Austin Seminary Association of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary as Distinguished Alumna for Distinguished Service to the Church. She was the 2016 Westerfelt Lecturer at Austin Seminary. She received the Shaw University Outstanding Achievement Award as International Recognized Womanist Scholar, 2016. Her current research includes: theology; justice; violence, sexualities and sexual misconduct, spirituality, faith, and health; the Bible and culture; Womanist studies; women’s religious history and leadership experience; pedagogy; rage, grief and transformation; gender theory. Summer 2018 was a time of International Travel: Paris, France for the Society of Black Religion; Salvador, Brazil, for the 2018 Consultation of the African and African Diasporan Women in Religion & Theology, and the 14th Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies, Oxford, England: experiences for scholarship and ministry. Known for her 8 P’s as: professor, poet, preacher, priest, prayer partner, prophet, performer, and polyhistor, Dr. Kirk-Duggan is an avid athlete (who completed her first full marathon, 2010 (5 hr. 26 min. 07 seconds), a musician, and hot yoga aficionado/teacher. She loves to tinker with her roses, embraces laughter as her best medicine, and engages the quest for a healthy, holistic, spiritual life as foundation. Since 2004, she has served as Professor of Religion, and Director of Women’s Studies, Shaw University Divinity School, Raleigh, NC.


The Advent Meditations and Prayers are a gift to our seminary community and are made possible through gifts to our Annual Fund. Seminary of the Southwest appreciates the support of its friends, alumni, and the communities around the world that its graduates serve for the glory of God. This support ensures that Southwest, as an institution made of individuals dedicated to service to God and their fellow members of the body of Christ, can continue doing its part to build the body of Christ.


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