Threshold Moments: A Ritual for Voting

Witness for JusticeAs Voting day, November 3, 2020, quickly approaches and many American citizens find ourselves in a quandary as to how to best prepare, I invite us, as people of conscience/faith, to join together in this ritual of preparation as a way forward.

Step 1: Push past any indifference and decide to put some of your action into a small step forward. Plan for how you will vote this year. Check your registration. Will you vote early by mail? Will you go to the polls with your mask and your research? Will you drop off a ballot at a location you’ve identified beforehand? This decision is a threshold. Move through it with care.

Step 2: After you have made your plan, and as your body and self moves closer to the action, breathe intention towards change. Hold hope of humanity. Hold the vision of the better world. Breathe into the kindom of God. Notice the emotions within you: perhaps… frustration, pride, anger, hope, excitement, anxiety.

Step 3: Open the ballot when you have received it—whether in the mail or at the polling place. Cast the wisdom of your ancestors who knew these threshold moments between you and the signs, the people campaigning and advertisements, the free coffee that comes with expectations. A shield of love between your values and morals and soul, and all that threatens.

Step 4: Read it over. Remind yourself of the grounding values of your spirit and soul. Reach towards the rituals of your faith, your awareness, your family; whatever they may be.

Step 5: As you take the time to research, or to wait in line, let each moment be mindful. Check your ballot choices, google the platforms or judges or issues that mean prioritizing people. Send energy of love. Check yourself in holding humanity, even if it means re-orienting your idea of the other.

Step 6: Remember your ancestors who could not vote, who had no choice in public sphere.
Remember the prophet Cornel West: “Justice is what love looks like in public.”
Remember those who are barred from this right, or cannot vote, this year.
Remember that this is but one action of many in alignment of Justice.
Remember that voting is not EVERYTHING… And it is not nothing.

Step 7: As you fill out the forms with your name, or show your ID and get checked in, pull your own identity and self and core to the forefront of your awareness. Does your vote today reflect one you can stand beside for the children and grandchildren of this generation, and those to follow? Can you do your best, even amidst all the rest of the competing priorities of your life? What are the core values and commitments that you want to hold in voting?

Step 8: Take your ballot and touch the threshold of the ballot box. May you be encased in love. May you be held accountable for these choices. May your bubble-filling be complete, and may the machines not lose your vote. May you lose the blinders of indifference, may the walls between those in power and those first impacted by the political forces of shame and greed crumble.

Step 9: Submit your vote. Pray. Send energy. Make a shield. Lift gratitude. Remember the ways that your vote counts, but more so; your willingness to show up alongside what you believe, to learn across difference, and that you can be counted on to help make another world possible.

Step 10: Apply your sticker. Or update your social media that you have voted. This is the threshold of another beginning, an invitation to others to do the same. Gird up your loins, pull yourself up, and let us roll up the sleeves and get to work, together. Join those who have been here for long and be re-energized by those who are ready to help in the work.

No matter what happens in November, we will cross the threshold into the ongoing work, together.

I Voted

Chris Davies is the Team Leader of Faith INFO for the United Church of Christ.

View this and other columns on the UCC’s Witness for Justice page.
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