Reflection by Rev. Julie Stoneberg
Interim Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church West
So much is needed. So much is needed that it can feel pointless to do anything. The sense of overwhelm can bring us to our knees.
And from that place, let us pray for change, for hope. May we see that however daunting the struggle for justice, we can choose to be faithful and prophetic, fearless and loving. We can choose to make our act of voting a spiritual practice, and to cast our ballots as prayers for a world in which all people can thrive.
I share this prayerful poem written for the 2016 Presidential Election. May it be reminder that voting is one individual yet significant act of service to all people, to our planet, and to our future.
Poem for Reflection
Prayer Ballot by Luke Stevens-Royer
I walk in, as on pilgrimage.
The altar cloths are red, white, and blue
the ushers are the women
who have been running these things
who have been running everything
since before I was born.
I’m handed the ballot
like a scroll
because the questions
seem that important—
ancient and modern
of what my God and country
ask of me:
Who—for commissioner, mayor, president—
who—for district 8, ward 7, school board—
who—will do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly?
I make my mark
with at least a shred of hope
that something good will come from this.
And regardless, I remember:
the world won’t be destroyed, entirely, by this;
the world won’t be saved, entirely, by this.
Marking my vote
is like kneeling in prayer
because neither will accomplish
anything right away—
but the purpose of both
is to remind me
of my deepest hope
for the world that I’m trying to help create.
So I rise from prayer,
and turn in my ballot
and remember the who is me,
and us, and we the people—
and again I set to the task that is mine:
justice, mercy, humble service
in my small corner of the world.
Prayer for Healing
Source of all being, Sacred mystery, you are the wellspring of justice. Weaver of the
warp and weft of history, weave our lives into the fabric of your will. Guide us towards the Beloved Community. Forgive us when we have failed to give shape to the Beloved Community in our communities and in our lives.
All around us the ugly onslaughts of white nationalism, hate crimes, and systemic
racism devastate your people, divide us, and threaten our democracy. All around us the wicked strut, and in high places are those who encourage the basest of attitudes and actions. Grant us wisdom and courage to confront these evils with the power of love and truth. Free us from timidity and equivocation. Help us to be bold in thought and action. May our lives and our faith communities model the change we hope to see in the world.
As we approach the November elections, keep us mindful that the right to vote is a
sacred trust won by beatings, by imprisonments, by blood, by the relentless struggles of many who came before us. Help us to honor that legacy. May we vote our conscience and encourage others to do the same.
Heal our nation. Heal our hearts. Heal our nation. Amen.