It’s encouraging to see a renewed interest in the plight of the last and least – in Biblical shorthand, the “widow and orphan,” and a willingness to discuss the priorities we choose together, as a nation. It is tempting to consider that individually our voice might not make much difference, but if we each lift up our voices in prayer while we also lift up our hands in action, our country will forever remain that beautiful nation that Tocqueville described, “America is great, because America is good.”
Consider the 2011 Sojourners campaign, “What Would Jesus Cut?” The group joined with Bread for the World, ONE, American Jewish World Service, Meals on Wheels, Islamic Relief, The Alliance to End Hunger, the UN World Food Program, Feeding America and others, in praying that God will intervene to change the hearts and minds of the country’s leaders. Citing the book of Esther, Sojouners asked its readers to abstain from lunch on Mondays in April, using the time to pray and to act. They offer an inexpensive “WWJC” bracelet, on their website. As they put it:
Fasting is our way of disciplining ourselves in prayer on this issue, while the action is to seek the kind of fast Isaiah describes: “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6). People of faith, united in prayer and committed to action, need to speak out for vulnerable people.
Sojourners wasn’t alone. Even as some took to the streets in “occupy” demonstrations and flash mobs, Many denominations and volunteer organizations have held – or are holding – awareness events, such as the UCC’s “Mission One,” a shared mission to become one, for eleven days, in an attempt to collect over 1 million items for outreach. <online: Facebook>.
Who wouldn’t be inspired to watch the Lasallian Volunteers of America as they rode across the nation raising awareness not only about poverty, but about the strength and possibilities in volunteerism? Their film, LVSRide, is available for your ministry, should you choose to screen it. <online: website> .