Some days I look around and I don’t recognize who we have become as a nation. I don’t understand how some decisions are made and shake my head at the values these decisions reflect.
The phrase, “My way is cloudy, Lord, send them angels down” is taken from an old African American Spiritual and was one of the opening songs of the Black Nativity play which ran recently here in Milwaukee. It is also how many feel about America today. The issues and assaults to our values and way of life seem, at times, overwhelming. Some days I look around and I don’t recognize who we have become as a nation. I don’t understand how some decisions are made and shake my head at the values these decisions reflect.
This is my list. I encourage each of you to add your own intention. But I caution you, don’t expect any miracles. Don’t expect God to intercede and bring peace on earth. As a Quaker, I don’t believe in prayers that ask God to intervene. I’m more in line with Rabbi Jack Riemer when he wrote, We Cannot Pray to You” in which he said:
“We pray…for strength, determination, and willpower, to do instead of just to pray, to become instead of merely to wish.”
Pray for strength – as you work for social justice.
Pray for wisdom – as you choose your elected officials.
Pray for guidance – as you decide whether to run for office.
Pray for determination – as you hold your elected officials accountable.
You see, I believe that we have all that we need to succeed on any of these concerns. The way may be cloudy, but this we know: we are the answers to our own prayers. We are the angels God has sent. And, it looks we have our work cut out for us.
Michael Soika has been a community activist for more than 30 years working on issues of social and economic justice. His work for justice is anchored by his spiritual formation first as a Catholic and now as a Quaker.