Rev. David Gerth, Executive Director of Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU), Gamaliel affiliate in St. Louis, MO, Co-Chair of Gamaliel State Directors’ Table
Exodus 17:1-17 Give us water to drink.
We are thirsty. We need water. We’re dying here.
In the ash-covered lands of the U.S. West’s deadly fires, the earth itself cries out, echoing the exodus people at Massah and Meribah. And in this breathtaking 2020, the Biblical story calls up George Floyd and pandemic ICU’s – I can’t breathe!
This familiar story about the sins of complaining could remind us to buck up and put up with the struggles of life. Instead, it offers a different encouragement. Speak up! Make your claim! Name the pain! Believe it or not, God is paying attention.
Moses has the power he needs to meet the people’s needs, but he’s clueless. Fortunately, he also complains – to God. And God points Moses back to the tools God already provided. “Take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.”
Public officials may not have God-given staffs, but they do have God-given gifts (and our tax dollars) in their hands. In this season, we can be like our ancestors in faith and voice our own pain to those seeking our votes and to our God who will be talking to them if they have the wisdom to listen.
Questions for Reflection
- What are you and your community thirsty for?
- What’s the message you and your team can take to voters and candidates – today – about how you want them to use the power in their hands for the well-being of your community?
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