I often speak about how people of faith provide the impetus for national discussions and dramatic shifts by appealing to heart and soul. I love recalling the leadership of, among others, William Wilberforce, Nellie McClung, Tommy Douglas, Martin Luther King Jr., and Desmond Tutu.
This week, an article by John McKay, Liberal MP for Scarborough-Guildwood, that makes the same point was drawn to my attention. Reflecting on the important role that faith communities can play in relation to environmental concerns, he also makes a point related to all concerns of public interest, saying:
If we are to reverse the trends of voter decline and disenfranchisement, then let’s have a serious public discussion about the important role faith plays in our democracy and in our lives as citizens.
I welcome such serious public discussion and, with you, contribute to it in varied ways. We create the conditions for more serious discussion by getting on with it.
You already know that I think the strength of our role is rooted in soul and in community. The power of these is beyond description. Such power was demonstrated last Thursday by friends and members of the United Church Women’s Child Well-Being Initiative of Alberta and Northwest Conference.
On November 18th they delivered 83 handmade dolls to each of the 83 seats in the Alberta Legislature. These dolls represent the 77,000 Albertan children who live in poverty. Each doll carries a booklet that begins with a quote from Jesus in Matthew 7:9: “When a child asks for bread, who of us would give the child a stone?” With hands, words, and presence, these women are speaking to hearts and souls—and igniting imaginations of what it would be like to live in a poverty-free province. You can read more about their work and see photos on the Alberta and Northwest Conference website.
I was praying for them, as I had promised to do, and as were countless others. We are not alone in this community of prayer and action. And we are moved to varied responses by the same Christ. The Christian leaders I named at the top of this blog—and the women of Alberta and Northwest Conference—have all heard what Jesus said about the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.… You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Matt. 22:37–40).
As we act on these words, the role of faith will not be underestimated. How are you acting on these words? How are you bringing about a serious discussion about the important role faith plays in our democracy and in our lives as citizens?