Religious tradition defines a sacrament as an outward symbol that bestows grace. Is marching in protest with others an outward symbol that bestows grace? I think so.
Sharing solidarity by marching and protesting against 500 years of racism is a kind of sacrament. A group gathering and a putting oneself on the line bodily for the common good, for the body politic.
It takes courage and caring to march today in the presence of the coronavirus. And also in the face of certain police forces (certainly not all, thank God!) unleashed by certain politicians who prefer to dominate than to cooperate. The grace that derives from such solidarity includes Hope and and the deepening of visions for further actions. Grieving in common is part of the sacramental gifts bestowed as well. The grace of community ensues.
Marching and protesting was surely a big part of my spiritual experience in the sixties whether in Dubuque, Iowa as a seminary student or later in Paris when I was a student there or in Munster, Germany where I also studied and many times during my 34 years living and teaching in Oakland, California. Solidarity around causes of justice breeds genuine community.
Amidst the 3 C’s or pandemics bearing down on us—the coronavirus, climate change (closely linked to coronavirus) and the “cracked liberty bell” of 500 years of racism in America, marching and protesting inspires hope for it builds community.
A coming to life ensues when people march together, the very meaning of community is born anew—namely to share a common task. That common task growing out of the police murder of George Floyd is clear: To go deeper in our exorcising of the long history of racism in America.
Being in the streets is a very bodily exercise. Like all art is. It can awaken the body politic in profound ways including making allies and feeling deeply the common passion of a battle against injustice. A gut response common to all people, no matter what our race or religion (or no religion) or age or size or background or class, sharing what we have in common: Outrage over injustice. It is a beautiful thing to march and protest side by side with strangers, it is a dive into the common good.
What comes of it, hopefully, is that in awakening individuals, state and local governments, congress and ultimately the presidency might catch up and a resurrection of the body politic might happen. After all, marching is bodily—like all art. Body and body politic arising together. Following on the murder—or lynching or crucifixion of George Floyd—there comes a resurrection of the body politic.
How important it is to see people of all races united in protesting racial injustice. And all ages. Intergenerational and intercultural outrage that in turn can give birth to new creations, new leaders, new laws and new safeguards.
See Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-denominational Priest.
Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine.
Queries for Contemplation
Have you marched and protested in these days or in previous causes?
What were the awakenings in your soul that ensued?
How did this inspire you to remake the body politic?
The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature, to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God
Join Matthew Fox in this special free video event Wednesday June 17 at 5:30pm PT.