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BY REV. JEFF WELLS

October 14, 2020


Just Faith: Reclaiming Progressive Christianity, the new book by The Resistance Prays founder Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, is out now! Learn more here.
A vision of hope in the midst of so much hate.
Credit: “A Message from the Future II,” The Leap & The Intercept.
U.S. “democracy” (such as it is) repeatedly fails to reflect and implement the “will of the majority” of the people on issues like gun regulation, reproductive rights, etc. An example is yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to effectively shut down the U.S. Census process two weeks early. The Court thus took the undemocratic step of siding with the Republican Party’s and President Donald Trump’s efforts to sabotage the count and also allow the current administration to manipulate the Census to increase Republican seats in the House of Representatives. Read the New York Times article “Supreme Court Rules That Census Count Can Be Cut Short.”
Shout out, do not hold back!
    Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
    to the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet day after day they seek me
    and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
    and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
    they delight to draw near to God.
“Why do we fast, but you do not see?
    Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”
Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
    and oppress all your workers.
Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
    and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
    will not make your voice heard on high.

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?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
    and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

-Isaiah 58:1-4, 6-9 (NRSV)
A fight in the Federal courts means this decision will not be reversed in time to complete the Census as scheduled. Advocacy groups and attorneys will continue to fight for a fair examination and use of whatever Census data have been collected.

I feel bombarded by badness: voter suppression, ending the Census early, conservative packing of the courts, pandemic deniers, wildfires (political and ecological), and political malfeasance. What I need and I think we all need is an inspiring vision of hope for what the world could be and can be. 

This is a vision that has lived in my heart and, I believe, in the hearts of a majority of Americans for a long time, even if they never really thought it possible. It is a vision of a society in which the wealth of the nation is equitably distributed, in which building safe and thriving communities is the primary goal of our political system, and in which every person is valued and provided with a just wage and work that contributes to the common good. I am convinced this aligns with God's vision, too. 

I was especially inspired over the weekend when I watched a very powerful and creative animated short film that brought this vision alive before my eyes. The film is titled, “A Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair.” It was released only two weeks ago. The film imagines a way through our current morass to a time when the mass of people are mobilized to empty the prisons, repair our planet, build a just economy, dismantle all forms of oppression, and reallocate the wealth and resources of the whole world for the benefit of all. I urge you to watch it, share it, and participate in making its ethos a reality. 

We can’t wait. We all have to take up this banner before it is too late. If we do, we may be able to not only save the planet and survive, we could even thrive.
Watch the video. Find ways to become a participant (or increase your participation) in creating the future we know is possible.
God of Love, Justice, and Universal Ecology, lure, love, and inspire us to give of ourselves in the struggle to create the vision you have for the whole human community and the planet we inhabit. Help us to find within ourselves, our relationships, our organizations, and our communities, the strength, resilience, gifts, and resources to make real what feels utopian. Help us to see farther than our current horizons and perspectives and to work for the new social order with determination, grace, and love. Amen. 
Rev. Jeff Wells is the lead pastor at The Church of the Village in New York City, a progressive, radically inclusive, and anti-racist congregation that seeks to undermine all forms of oppression and promote the affirmation and flourishing of every human person.
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