A morning sunrise with a sky blown-up in pinks and purples, the trees on fire with vibrant leaves of red, orange and yellow, the marigolds. The sky turns grey, the cold wind blowing over the lake, so powerful it almost takes my breath: the creation teems with beauty, and in reciprocity I offer presence. Feeling a part of the creation, feeling connection to the environment, I pray: no words, no concepts, just the spiritual practice breathing in Peace.
My prayer finishes, and I’m pushed into society. I drive to the office through my rural landscape. I see confederate flags. I see political signs, harkening to our divisions. I see signs of climate change: storm damage and ecological exploitation. I see Black Lives Matter signs, too. And, I know the truth: that those who exploit the environment are likely to exploit my siblings as well; those who benefit from exploitation are likely less connected to other people.
I pray my breathing prayer and I’m reminded of our connection. Our siblings hurting need our empathy and our compassion. Our siblings doing the harm need both empathy and correction.
I pray that our connection becomes ever so clear to everyone, and share this Affirmation of Hope by Loretta Williams:
We, bearers of the dream, affirm that a new
vision of hope is emerging.
We pledge to work for that community in which
justice will be actively present.
We affirm that there is struggle yet ahead.
Yet we know that in the struggle is the hope for
We affirm that we are co-creators of the future,
not passive pawns.
And we stand united in affirmation of our hope
and vision of a just and inclusive society.
We affirm the unity of all persons:
We affirm brotherhood and sisterhood that allows
us to touch upon each other’s humanity.
We affirm a unity that opens our eyes, ears, and
hearts to see the different but common forms of
oppression, suffering, and pain.
Yet we are one in the image of God, and we
celebrate our hopes for human unity.
Within ourselves and within the gathered
community, we will discover the strength not to
hide in indifference.
Affirming that hope, publicly expressed, energizes
and enables us to move forward. Together we
pledge action to transcend barriers — be they
racial, political, economic, social, or religious.
We pledge to make our tomorrows become our
Let Peace be with you,
and remember to vote!
— Rev. Will