Jesus lived among the rejected. He ministered among the rejected. He died and was crucified as rejected, as somebody who was outside the political power structure. But early Sunday morning, from the grave he led a resurrection movement—a revival of love, a revival of justice, a revival of mercy, a revival of grace.
Jesus began a movement, fueled by his Spirit, a movement whose purpose was and is to change the face of the earth from the nightmare it often is into the dream that God intends.
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The greatest manifestation of the power of God comes when we work together to find ways to be together and do justice together and love together and stand together.
Divine Love is not a reward for good behavior, as we first presume it to be; it is a larger Life, an energy and movement that we can participate in—and then, almost in spite of ourselves—we behave differently.
Wherever you invest your life, I hope it will be in this larger movement laboring for the birth of something new. Embrace the long view and find the deep current, the infinite flow.
Faith-rooted organizers Alexia Salvatierra and Peter Heltzel have participated in many movements for social transformation. They recommend singing together as a simple but profound practice that has sustained many movements of the past and can nourish our efforts of love and justice today:
We all have a song to sing, and for the movement for justice to grow and be successful, everyone needs to sing their song. Music came to life in the protests and picket lines, uniting activists in one common spirit. Learning the music of the movement is thus an important way of sustaining the struggle, as music encapsulates a creative and prophetic spirituality. . .
The church is, in a way, a repository of these spiritual songs that feed our soul. Every week when we go to church we bring the pains and promises, hurts and hopes of the week into the service, but there is something about singing that goes to the heart of the matter and to the depths of the soul. The physical act of singing together, with its healing vibrations through our body, actually comforts our bodies. And the texts we sing are amplified in our hearts and minds by the melodies the composers have offered us. It is no wonder that singing played such a profound role in the civil rights movement; it offers physical, mental and spiritual comfort in a communal setting, sustaining the weary and encouraging the worn.
We invite you to sing a familiar song out loud today; it may be spiritual in nature, comforting or enlivening. If possible, sing with companions and sense the energy that flows between and around your voices. Here is a short video from the Smithsonian of civil rights mass meeting participants in Danville, Virginia, 1963, singing “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”
Alexia Salvatierra and Peter Heltzel, Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014), 177.
Explore Further. . .
- Read Franciscan Sister Thea Bowman on Black sacred song.
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Khamkéo Vilaysing, Lonely Tree (detail), 2017, France, photograph, Unsplash. Anastase Maragos, Calm Tide (detail), 2020, Canada, photograph, Unsplash. Clark Gu, Untitled (detail), 2020, Korea, photograph, Unsplash. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.
Image inspiration: We cannot see the wind, but we feel it. We recognize its presence by watching the world around us move in response to its power. At times, the movement of Spirit towards justice feels invisible and interminably slow, but like waves slowly shaping the shoreline, in time we see the fruits of God’s movement.
Prayer for our community:
God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough, because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.