Based on Micah 6:6-8
I’m writing this Meditation at the end of a Statewide Day of Prayer called for by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who thought that to be a worthy endeavor since two racially tinged murder trials are in process in Charleston and since the results of the recent Presidential election have magnified the divisions in our State and Nation.
I commend the Governor for her spirit and intent, for the leadership she’s offered in times of State crisis and for her awareness of the need for people of faith to pray together. My faith tells me, however, that prayer must be followed up by action to improve the lives of those Jesus called “the least of these” and to seek the peace, justice, righteousness and equity that the Prophet Amos said should flow like unrestrained rivers.
Our Governor is positioned to do that when it comes to public policy, but she has been slow to deal with racial and economic public school inequities, has refused to accept the Medicaid expansion that would make more impoverished South Carolinians eligible for Affordable Care Act health coverage, and has opposed the reasonable regulation of firearms.
I appreciated the Governor’s call for a Statewide Day of Prayer, but my personal prayer today was for her enlightenment, courage and hopeful leadership in taking political action that betters the lives of all citizens.
I share that with you in a world where people of faith readily engage in acts of worship and acts of charity, but are sometimes uncomfortable with prophetic advocacy that leads to justice and fairness. It’s easy for us to come to worship and rejoice with those who share our faith. It’s easy for us to do acts of kindness for those caught up in poverty and hopelessness. It’s harder, however, to ask why there are still impoverished and hopeless people in 2016 America and to advocate for their betterment.
Take the time, especially on this Thursday of National Thanksgiving, to prayerfully thank the Lord for all that’s right in your life, but take the time every day to stand up for and improve the lives of those struggling with poverty, discrimination and injustice.
You may be criticized for doing so, but the God we serve will bless you for doing so, give you the strength to stand and speak truth to power, and enable you to walk in the footsteps of the writer who said, “If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living will not be in vain.”