Mary Gonzales, Retired Associate Director of Gamaliel, Founder of Gamaliel and Pilsen Neighbors Community Council, Chicago, IL
This is a time when many of us are depressed about the ugly divisions in our country, the blatant racism, and the oppression of the working class. It would be easy for us to dip into despair and give into hopelessness. Think of Jesus. He is going up to Jerusalem. He is going to his own crucifixion. Every step must have been exhausting. St. Peter, the rock upon which he hopes to build his church, begs him to turn back. Jesus’ response is fierce and brutal – “get thee behind me Satan.” Jesus will not be stopped. He moves toward the danger, toward the risk, toward the unknown.
“For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.” Luke 16:8
“Now I draw a very simple, practical lesson, and it is just this, that if Christian men (and women), in their Christian lives, would practice the virtues that the world practices, in pursuit of its shabby aims and ends, their whole Christian character would be revolutionised.” MacLaren’s Exposition.
Questions for Reflection
Those supporting racist, homophobic, and sexist views and those who have distain for the poor and for the environment are “fired up and ready to go”.
- Do we, who have opposite positions, bring to the table the same fierceness, energy, and commitment?
- How can you gain the necessary clarity and courage to act on your values and faith?
The Common Prayer on Our Journey
Source of all being, Sacred mystery, you are the wellspring of justice. Weaver of the warp and weft of history, weave our lives into the fabric of your will. Guide us towards the Beloved Community. Forgive us when we have failed to give shape to the Beloved Community in our communities and in our lives.
All around us the ugly onslaughts of white nationalism, hate crimes, and systemic racism devastate your people, divide us, and threaten our democracy. All around us the wicked strut, and in high places are those who encourage the basest of attitudes and actions. Grant us wisdom and courage to confront these evils with the power of love and truth. Free us from timidity and equivocation. Help us to be bold in thought and action. May our lives and our faith communities model the change we hope to see in the world.
As we approach the November elections, keep us mindful that the right to vote is a sacred trust won by beatings, by imprisonments, by blood, by the relentless struggles of many who came before us. Help us to honor that legacy. May we vote our conscience and encourage others to do the same.
Heal our nation. Heal our hearts. Heal our nation. Amen.
Gamaliel National Religious Leaders’ Caucus invites you to 40 Days of Reflection on Our Journey to the Polls
Few national elections have had similar consequences as the November Election in 2020. Our nation stands in crisis and at a significant crossroad. The Gamaliel Network, an interfaith coalition of persons of faith who stand and act together for justice and equality, pledges to undergird the 40 days leading up to the election with prayer and reflection.
We urge you to use the Common Prayer below every day. On each day, we have asked a faith leader, from different traditions, to offer a reflection on the Common Prayer at this Moment of American Crossroads. We urge you to begin this prayer preparation with a day of fasting on Sept. 24,(or a similar expression of spiritual preparation), and then to engage in prayer at a time of your choosing each day, to prepare yourself, your friends and neighbors, and our nation, for this election.
The Gamaliel Religious Leaders Table has written a “Theological Statement on Hate Crimes and White Nationalism.” a faith statement on “White Nationalism.” The link to this statement is: https://gamaliel.org/our-work/religious-leaders-caucus/gnrlc-a-faithful-response-to-hate-crimes-and-white-nationalism/
Each reflection will include the leader’s personal reflection, questions for contemplation, and a suggested scriptural text from their tradition.
The Gamaliel National Religious Leaders’ Steering Committee