Sr. Carol Johannes, OP, Pastoral Minister and Spiritual Director; Former Prioress, Adrian Dominican Sisters; Friend of Gamaliel, Ann Arbor, MI
Spiritual guides tell us that one of the greatest enemies of the community of believers is fear. Fear can make us unfree, unhappy and unholy. Unfortunately, fear is alive and well in today’s world. It encourages us to perceive the other as a threat and as an agent of all sorts of ugly things that might harm us.
Perhaps it’s time to turn to the One who enjoined us not to fear, to ask to overcome our fear and respond to the other in love. In 1 John we read, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear . . . . We love because God first loved us. . . . The commandment we have from him is this: that those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also” I John 4:18-19, 21.
Questions for Reflection
- What are some of the ways in which fear of the other affects the relational climate of our culture?
- What do you think is the source of the fear so many people live with today?
- What might be the result of our resolve to relate to others with trust and respect? How might things change?
Additional Sacred Text
Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1b
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