Some Reflections Of Praying For Justice In A Contemplative Conundrum
How do I pray contemplatively the enormous structural implications of our current economic and political realities? I want to be hopeful and resist cynicism. I want to be trusting and not be filled with fear about the economically driven political policies and decisions that are becoming almost hard-wired into the system. I want to walk with you, my Love.
How do I pray contemplatively from my heart and with my actions as I watch the present unfolding of our world?
Psalm 62:8, “O my people, trust in God at all times. Pour out your heart to the Lord, for God is our refuge.”
OK then Loving One, let me pour out my heart to you.
Loving One, I believe in the origin of labour unions that addressed an egregious and immoral so called “free market” that gave owners and corporations free reign to exploit the earth, the children, and all the rest who worked for a pittance in dire industrial settings. I contemplate the fact that it was largely the labour unions that created the climate and drive for the emergence of the middle class that we have become comfortable in. It has been their concerted effort to make sure that employees get a reasonable piece of the pie.
So, God, I am distressed when I see labour unions become “fat cats” and throw their institutional weight around with the same intransigent, oppressive and unreasonable tactics used by the employers they fight. In my longing for simplicity and justice, I believe, dear One, that we have lived far too long on an overdose of upward mobility. I can accept the fact that we will need to tighten our belts and live more frugally, without the expectation that we will match or outdo the long-standing curve of prosperity.
So here it is God. Do I pray for Your kingdom to come and act for justice by supporting the policies that are currently being employed to eviscerate the power of unions? Would that help to foresee a simpler and less consumer-driven life style?
I sit in silence and listen.
OK God, but then what is the alternative? By praying for a reduction of labour costs to make Canadian companies more viable in the world market, what am I really praying for? Will we be saved by more profitable companies and less government infrastructure to offer any guidelines? If we privatize health care, and cut spending on all the normal support systems we as a nation have come to take for granted, then what?
So I sit in silence again.
As I listen, I read the NY Times’ frightening expose of Apple’s atrocious labour practices in China. And God, I wonder if this brutal picture gives some glimpse as to the likely direction we are headed, here in our own situation. I don’t see any policies or guidelines in place, dear God, that would stem the tide of increasing power to corporations and by extension greater powerlessness among the people who live and seek to work for their living.
Do I then pray for Your kingdom to come, O Just One, and do I pray my choices to support a clear and principled regulation of what the limits are to these kinds of policies and decisions? Would it be Your will to challenge the power of the powerful and stand with the increasingly powerless in a call for radical reorientation of direction?
I sit in silence.
God, I am pouring out my heart to you. I don’t want to live in indecision and I don’t want to act in some partisan way. I believe your kingdom is above all the political and economic machinations of the present power elites. But God, help me. I am starting to get cynical. Maybe I don’t have to worry about praying about the middle class and its sins. Maybe there won’t be a middle class to pray for in the near future anyway.
I sit in silence.
God turn my heart to you. Keep me attuned to the mystery of your presence. Let me act in faith. Let me trust that whether or not I make the right choices, I am at least offering what little understanding and power of choice that I have to you and to your purposes for our world.