Sara Nović, author of Girl at War
“Writing is always a political act, but I expect that will become even more explicit in light of the Trump administration-to-be’s well-documented animosity toward the academy and journalistic practice. Now, more than ever, writing and art is critical for its capacity to educate, transport, and forge bridges of empathy. But we are beyond business-as-usual, and art alone is not enough to induce the mass cultural and political change this country now needs. Writers must now use any public voice we have to push that change forward and be on the front lines in protecting and amplifying the voices of vulnerable populations. Elie Wiesel said it best, I think: ‘Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim … Sometimes we must interfere.’”
As I continue to grapple with the present reality I am encouraged knowing that we have the power to speak out and make our voices heard. We have an awesome responsibility, a moral responsibility, to make sure we “forge bridges of empathy” with those most vulnerable under the new leadership of our country.
As I wrote in an earlier post this week, “Those of us who live in love have to take sides. We have to speak out against every hate crime we see, and we must, likewise, take every opportunity to prevent hate crimes from occurring. Silence on this issue is not an option.”
God of mercy and justice, we praise you this perfect day for all the gifts you have given your children. We glorify your name for your sustaining grace and the everlasting love poured so freely into our lives. You have given us so much, and for everything we have and all that we are, we give you our thanks.
Our prayer this morning is for the grace to more fully respond to the love and grace you have first given us. Help us always remember, and always be aware that all we have comes from you.
We have been so richly blessed with material abundance. We have financial wealth unimaginable by most of our human family. We take solid shelter and good homes for granted in a world teeming with refugees and the homeless. Food security is never an issue for our families Instead, we complain about variety and search out ever newer and exotic meals. We spend without thought, and eat to excess in a world full of poor and hungry.
Forgive us, Lord, for our thoughtlessness. Forgive us for our lack of awareness. Forgive us for our continued misuse of the gifts so freely bestowed upon us. Forgive us for our lack of caring… and our lack of sharing.
Lord, open our eyes so that we might see our world through your eyes. Grant us compassion deep enough to bring us to our knees in true empathy with those of our family chained by poverty and hunger. Grant us the miracle-working power of your Holy Spirit to lift us above our self-centeredness, our selfishness and fears so that we might love the least of these among us enough to open ourselves fully enough to share not only all we have…but all we are. Lord, teach us this morning how to be generous, and to give as you have first given to us.
Grant us more generous hearts. Help us more fully reflect your love through our caring and our sharing. And let all we have been given be used to glorify you. Amen
Most merciful and compassionate God, we give thanks for another night of rest and day of beauty. You have kept us in safety throughout the night and have again gifted us with a day full of opportunity.
Today we pray for deeper understanding for those in need. Help us see through the differences and see the commonality that binds us together as your children. Help us see through the filth and get beyond the stink of hunger and homelessness to see the pure beauty of those you love with a love that extends into eternity.
Grant us sympathy that becomes empathy as we reach out to those waiting to be loved, those hungry for more than food, and those withering from the lack of a caring touch.
Today, may we see through the eyes of your son. May our every action reflect the love which daily sustains us. And may we have the insight to see the Christ in the face of every person we might meet. – AMEN
Whether people are beautiful or plain, friendly or cruel, ultimately they are human beings, just like oneself. Like oneself, they want happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, their right to overcome suffering and be happy is equal to one’s own. Now, when you recognize that…you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Through accustoming your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish to help them actively overcome their problems. This wish is not selective; it applies equally to all. – the Dalai Lama
Ending hunger in our lifetime is possible. We all know it is the right thing to do. My prayer is that we recognize that we are all human beings, we are all one family, and we all have a right to life in all its fullness. Once we recognize that, the feeling of responsibility will lead us to do whatever is necessary to make sure each of us has bread.