Our Vote and Our Voice — 2020

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Voting is a theological issue, not just a political one
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— Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II

 

As early voting begins in my state today, I pray that every person who votes will know that voting is not merely a political issue, will allow faith to inform them, will make choices based on knowledge and conscious and will remember that your vote is your voice.

In the image above there is a Hebrew word — kol – קוֹל. The word has several definitions. Two of them are voice and vote. Yes, your vote is your voice and also your power to change the issues you care about. The following words are a call to all voters from the Maryknoll missioners:

Inspired by the gospel and the commitment of the Maryknoll missioners to stand with vulnerable communities around the world, we urge U.S. citizens to vote to advance the cause of peace, social justice, and the integrity of creation. 

The Maryknoll missioners have created the Faithful Voting and Global Concerns series which uses the See-Judge-Act Method of pastoral-theological social analysis. Through this method, people of faith are invited to

  • SEE, or observe a situation or issue, particularly as it is experienced by the most marginalized and vulnerable people;
  • JUDGE, or seek to understand the situation in light of their faith, giving attention to Scripture and Church teaching;
  • ACT, or respond to the call to help build God’s kindom. 


God has given each of us the power to be heard through our voice and our vote. Dr. William Barber says that our vote is our power unleashed, that if we know who we are and do not shrink back, we will change our nation. He adds this inspiring thought: “When we join hands, we are instruments of redemption.” 

Hozier is an Irish-born, indie-folk singer who wrote a remarkable song titled, “Nina Cried Power.” The song is really a rallying cry with inspiring lyrics. The song opens:

It’s not the waking, it’s the rising
It is the grounding of a foot uncompromising
It’s not forgoing of the lie
It’s not the opening of eyes
It’s not the waking, it’s the rising.

So why do we need a rallying cry to move us to vote in this or any other election? I believe it is because we sometimes become disheartened and disappointed about the issues our nation is facing. We sometimes allow hopelessness to hold us captive, bound by the chains of “it won’t make any difference. I cannot with one vote make any difference.” Sometimes we truly believe that in our spirits, but that is precisely where Hozier’s lyrics touch us — in our spirits. That’s what needs to rise up in us, our spirits that can still cry out “HOPE!”

You see, it really isn’t the waking. We can do several things if we simply wake up from sleep and drag ourselves out of bed every day. The power of our vote and our voice, though, requires “the rising.” Our rising!

Blessings to you as you exercise your vote, your power to use your voice.

I know I have shared this video, “May You Vote” before, but as long lines form in my state today, I offer you this video that actually is a blessing.

May You Vote: A Blessing

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I received an inspiring blessing today from Auburn Seminary, a video entitled “May You Vote.” My first thought as I watched the video was that all of us and each of us need a blessing as we vote in this important election. For in these restless days, we are engulfed by a lethal pandemic, isolation, quarantine, violence by police, the death of many of our black, brown and indigenous brothers and sisters, protests in city streets and violence against the protesters. It is almost too much to bear.

But as people of faith who long for transformation, our vote is a part of a holy mission from God. So if we are able, we will vote, and we will vote as a part of God’s holy mission, hoping that God’s love and our perseverance will soon lead us to the gracious gift of “beloved community.”

The Senior Fellows of Auburn Seminary, faith leaders from a multifaith movement for justice, have a deeply personal video blessing for us:

May You Vote!

This is note from their president:

The Fellows gathered in their homes across the country to remind us that a government of the people only works when it’s of the people and by the people.We all have a part to play now! May you be inspired by their words and share them with others. So much is on the line with this election, and with your vote, you can help shape the future of this nation.

By mail or in person if you are able—May You Vote!

Rev. Dr. Katharine R. Henderson

President, Auburn

Please listen to their blessing in this video message: