Unleashing courageous leadership and collective power
to realize a just and loving world.
A Message from the Executive Director
How is it with your soul?
This is the question the John Wesley, Anglican priest and the founder of Methodism, was known to ask of participants in small reflection groups. And I ask you all tonight because, for me, this has been a hard week. I am carrying the swirling anxiety that has been almost palpably present in our country with me in my body and spirit, as I look toward this incredibly important and totally unprecedented election tomorrow. I am fearful about what the outcomes will mean for me and my children and my beloveds and the generations to come, no matter who wins. I am hopeful that my neighbors and kin will say "yes" to love and interconnectedness and "no" to bigotry and oppression, and that the election results will empower the candidates who best embody those values. I am aware of all the work my communities have been doing to organize for change in a thousand places, from the ballot box to the streets. And I know that no matter what the election results are tomorrow, the moral arc of the universe will still not yet have been bent enough toward justice.
So, beloveds, how is it with your souls?
If your response to that question is anything like mine, I want to invite you to pause as you read this. Take a deep breath, say a prayer, sing a song, light your chalice, feel the force of gravity pulling us all toward the same center -- whatever helps you feel more rooted and less alone.
Now do it again. And again, and again.
And, once you feel that rootedness and connection, hear this:
You are loved beyond belief. You are enough, you are precious, your work and your life matter, and you are not alone. You are part of a "we," a great cloud of witnesses living and dead who have insisted that this beautiful, broken world of ours is a blessing worthy of both deep gratitude and fierce protection. Whatever happens tomorrow, our ancestors and our descendants are beckoning us, compelling us to onward toward greater connection, greater compassion, greater commitment to one another and to the earth. Together, we are resilient and resourceful enough to say "yes" to that call, to make it our life's work in a thousand different ways, knowing that we can do no other than bind ourselves more tightly together, and throw ourselves into the holy work of showing up, again and again, to be part of building that world of which we dream but which we have not yet seen.
If you haven't already, do go vote tomorrow. And outside of the ballot box, please be gentle with yourselves and everyone around you. If you need someone tomorrow to pray or take a few deep breaths with, call me -- seriously. I will take your call (my number is in the signature below), and spend a few minutes with you as we help each other re-ground. It would be lovely to hear from you.
In closing, I leave you with a beautiful poem from MUUSJA Board Member Rev. Luke Stevens-Royer, written for weary souls on this election eve:
(written for the Presidential Election, 2016)
I walk in, as on pilgrimage.
The altar cloths are red, white, and blue
the ushers are the women
who have been running these things
who have been running everything
since before I was born.
I’m handed the ballot
like a scroll
because the questions
seem that important -
ancient and modern
of what my God and country
ask of me:
Who – for commissioner, mayor, president –
who –for district 8, ward 7, school board –
who – will do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly?
I make my mark
with at least a shred of hope
that something good will come from this.
And regardless, I remember:
the world won’t be destroyed, entirely, by this;
the world won’t be saved, entirely, by this.
Marking my vote
is like kneeling in prayer
because neither will accomplish
anything right away -
but the purpose of both
is to remind me
of my deepest hope
for the world that I’m trying to help create.
So I rise from prayer,
and turn in my ballot
and remember the who is me,
and us, and we the people -
and again I set to the task that is mine:
justice, mercy, humble service
in my small corner of the world.
In faith and solidarity,
Rev. Ashley Horan, Executive Director