We Are a Hopeful People, When We Act

Rev. Sarah Campbell

Yes, to be good citizens we need to be educated. Ignorance does not pair well with a good society. Ignorance and greed, even worse.

But being good citizens is also about being engaged, active, organized. Same with being persons of faith, Christians. Prayer and education are not enough. To bring about the kingdom of God on earth, we need to act.

Don’t fall into the “paralysis of analysis,” and I won’t either. Armchair liberals are seldom people with energizing hope. Besides, our scripture is all about liberating social change!

The prophet Isaiah judges billionaires, like the 700 + in our nation. “Ah, you who join house to house… who add field to field until there is room for no one but you…” And he judges those who ignore the truth of Jan 6, 2021. “Ah, you who call evil good and good evil …”.

Let’s limit our news intake. And dwell on articles that pair well with our holy book.

I was so taken with an article, “Now What?”, by Katha Pollitt in The Nation magazine. It’s about abortion but it could be about climate change, guns, policing, democracy, etc. She writes:

In the face of this disaster, it’s tempting to rant and rave. There’s a lot of that in print and online, and that’s fine. We need passion, articulate and splendid passion, to spur us to the work ahead. But this time I’m going to leave the rage and fire to others—Instead, I want to think out loud here about what that work might be…

Do more. If you are reading this, chances are you are already voting, donating, writing your legislators, and so on, like the good citizen you are. So, go further: Demonstrate incessantly. Walk out of that anti-choice church you still go to for some reason, like Polish feminists did in 2016…

Remember, she writes: It’s not the 1960s. For every kind of activism you want to get involved in, there are groups working on it already. Find your group.

Finally, don’t let yourself feel pre-defeated. We can win this eventually, but despair will make it harder. Just concentrate on what you can do now….. two big lessons from the civil rights movement, which also seemed an impossible struggle. One is, sometimes you have to stand up to illegitimate authority. The other is, if we organize, we can win. Even in the face of bad decisions and conflict and trouble, we still need to be agents of hope.”

And did you read the article by Ezra Klein in the New York Times entitled “Your Kids Are Not Doomed to a Grim Life” (June 9, 2022)? Klein writes: “To bring a child into this world has always been an act of hope.” The promises we make to these babies and their parents at baptism to “resist evil” is an act of hope.

Isaiah speaks to us, we who despair about the state of the world.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? God is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the ear. God gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Those who wait for God shall renew their strength, and they shall mount up with wings like eagles.”

God, come, unbind us of our despair and strengthen us to act!

1 reply
  1. Barbara Gilbertson
    Barbara Gilbertson says:

    “Finally, don’t let yourself feel pre-defeated.”

    Holy wow! There’s a lot of that going around. It’s highly contagious. I know that, because I’ve had some bouts of it recently. Thank you for this, Sarah. And for the words before and after it.

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