I recently experienced two prayer events that helped me realize again how much I need community to survive these troubling times.
On July 30, I attended FutureChurch's "Voices that Challenge" Mary of Magdala celebration in the intimate space of Cleveland's new Congregation of Saint Joseph Center chapel. In the midst of so many current assaults on Christian values, the reflective yet passionate prayer brought both solace and challenge.
Readings from today's social prophets such as March for Our Lives organizer Emma González, black historical theologian Shannon Dee Williams, immigrant justice advocate Missionaries of Jesus Sr. Norma Pimentel, transgender support activist Deacon Ray Dever, death penalty abolishment advocate St. Joseph Sr. Helen Prejean and others were interspersed with a gentle sung refrain asking God to "open our ears to hear your voice."
" 'And who are we?' " read a campus minister from a local Catholic high school quoting González. " 'We are the people who died in the freshman building on Valentine's Day at Douglas High, and the people who died in every mass shooting in U.S. history. … We are speaking up for those who will never speak again.' "