The following are remarks I made at last month’s “Reviving Our Hearts for Justice” event. On short notice, just around 100 people filled Community Hall to hear speakers, poetry, and music, all with the express purpose of drawing soulful sustenance for the work of justice and peace needed in our time.
We sense something going disastrously wrong in our country. Some of us may have incisive analysis of how we have reached our current moment, and some of us may be feeling bewildered. Some of us have been working for justice for years. Some of us have recently begun. Some of us may be “political” folks, and some of us may not. What many of us are sharing and feeing is the critical urgency of moral dissent. Not partisan dissent, but moral dissent. The capacity and courage to see and name injustice, racism, and violence and refuse to comply.
Yet the work of resisting structural oppression is tiring. It wears on the heart and body to take in so much so much disturbing information, for people of color and immigrants and poor people and women and sexual minorities to bear the trauma of systemic oppression.
The work of dissent is not enough; resistance must also be connected to the work of the heart. Being against injustice is the first step, but reviving our hearts for compassion, and courage, and justice, is the necessary work for the long game. We give collective permission to be angry, to grieve, and to harness the energy of resistance, to heal, and to feel empowerment. We seek to inspire each other to keep going, to get up and go to work and take care of the kids, to keep making phone calls, to keep marching, to dare to hope that today’s headlines are not where our evolving story ends.
We are in a critical and catastrophic moment for American democracy, and yet the news of the moment really is that we are also on the cusp of a greater awakening of conscience than many of us have seen in our lifetimes. A global heart for justice is emerging and something new is being born, in us, even today. But only if we attend to our hearts.
We need the arts right now, desperately. We need poetry, music, speeches, and dance. We need community. We need each other. And we need God’s Holy Spirit to revive our hearts.
In resolute hope,