O God, make us willing to do your will, come what may. Increase the number of persons of good will and moral sensitivity. Give us renewed confidence in nonviolence and the way of love as taught by Christ. Amen. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I’m not speaking here of the easy whine of complaint, motivated by self-interest, without the force behind it that will move past easy words. When I speak of protest, I mean the orientation of our souls against the status quo, a conviction that drags our bodies and minds along with it, into the street (or these days, onto the internet). The protests we remember, not just as marches but as movements, are positioned against entire ways of being, motivated by more than simple grievance.
The sense of justice that urges us to fight for a fairer world comes from deep inside of us. This is a God-given conviction: it may even be the voice of God itself.
Who else could spark in us the absurd thought that our societies should be guided by fundamental human dignity? Who else could inspire us to love our neighbor, even when that means we will cede some of our advantages? Who else could push the powerless to be prophets as they remind the world that things are not supposed to be as they are?
When we listen to the voice that condemns injustice, that is prayer. When we listen to the voice that says “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me”, that is prayer. When that voice lifts us off the ground in righteous anger, when every part of our being revolts against the systems some can barely see, when we demand justice and seek creative ways to allow its full flowering, that is prayer.
Image by “US Government Photo” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons