The Sacrament of Marching and Protesting

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.

Ferguson uprising demonstration. Photo originally posted to Flickr by MCC Current.

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.  

“What Happened to Sandy” demonstration in 2015 outside of Waller County Jail where Sandra Bland was murdered. Photo taken by Elizabeth Brossa and used with permission by Rev. Jerry Maynard.

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.

Produced by Dara Kell and Eric Preston, for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and uploaded to the Repairers of the Breach YouTube channel.

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. 

Black power fist banner in demonstration held in Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash,

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.

Banner Image: Anonymous carrying sign in demonstration. Photo posted to Flickr by Sean P. Anderson.

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?

Recommended Reading

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.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

8 thoughts on “The Sacrament of Marching and Protesting”

  1. Avatar

    Hi Matt,
    I LOVE your calling marching and protests sacraments! That is certainly what they are for me. I also call them prayers because for me it matters not only that I pray but where I pray. The recent protest I joined in Denver was at a MLK monument in a park which was very sacred for me… To be with the memory of King, in nature with people standing for justice! What a glorious time to be alive. Transformation is in the air, in our hearts and in our choices! Much love and gratitude to you dear Matt!

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      It is inspiring that Matthew calls protest a sacrament. And he also calls prayer, “a radical response to God”–and I would add, to the world. We are truly in a time of transformation, and so we are walking the Via Transformativa where we are transformed, and we work for the transformation of society at large as well.

  2. Avatar

    Thank you for pointing out that protest marching is a sacrament. I believe that every act we do in the name of justice is holy, and this includes speaking up when racial slurs are heard and contacting local, state, and national authorities to bring them to account.

  3. Avatar

    While I certainly laud those people of all colors and ages who march against racial injustice, it does worry me about the possibility that the corona virus might have spread among them. To have these two back-to-back was most unfortunate just as the number of new cases and deaths had begun to decline.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      We cannot control the corona virus nor the people who might get it. Though, as you say, it is “Most unfortunate ” to have this back to back with the racial protests. Hopefully they will find a vaccination for the virus and the protesting will accomplish a more racially just society! Thank you for your comment, Ron.

      1. Avatar

        Richard, today I read a similar concern by a former FDA Commisoner:

  4. Pingback: Speaking of God with Good Reason – GraceUnlimited

    1. Carol Kilby

      Dear Grace-Unlimited. You seem to have identified what most of miss in our time of questioning: the sacrament is in asking the question, in breaking open what is and inviting Grace unlimited to just be.
      Thank you for your honest sharing.
      Carol Kilby for the DMTeam.

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: