Praying with our Feet
Referring to the great civil rights march in the United States in 1965, where Black citizens were protesting for the right to be valued, heard, and vote, the great Jewish Rabbi named Abraham Joshua Heschel participated and reflected, "In Selma, Alabama, I learned to pray with my feet."
During this series of Rhythm, we have spent much time understanding the interior life, reflection, and our relationships with people. In this final section, we focus on resistance. Resistance is the spiritual discipline of standing up for what is right and speaking the truth to power, especially when it is unpopular or disadvantages you to do so.
Injustice is something Jesus said would always be present in the world (Matthew 26:11). Ultimately then, for those who desire to follow Jesus' teachings, the invitation to Heavenly life is not the absence of evil, but the presence of love through all things. In other words, the goal is not to conquer injustice in entirety, but rather to consistently and continually offer your life as a sacrifice for the good of all people. It is this type of life, the world will see and be transformed by. The life of faith, hope, and love. We must not be silent.
As we look at the US today, there are many groups of people experiencing extreme amounts of injustice. People of color, Muslims, women, person(s) with (dis)abilities, the poor, the LGTBQIAA+ community, just to name a few. This breaks the heart of God. God loves all people and desires flourishing for all, regardless of their label.
So what does it look like to "pray with our feet?" To pray with our feet is to resist the temptation of silence. To pray with your feet is to speak up when your hear an insensitive joke, or bullying remark, and not let it just happen. To pray with our feet is to go out of your comfort and seek to build meaningful connections with those who are different from you (religion, gender, age, socio-economic status, race, etc.). To pray with your feet is to ask "what can I do" based on what I have heard? How can I share these stories with my government and advocate that changes be made? How can I be a person that is full of hope and compassion who works to alleviate suffering I witness and also transform the mindset of those around me to view differences as gifts to be received? You don't need to do EVERYTHING, but you are responsible for doing something (Luke 12:36).
Personally, this is a challenge for me daily. I live in a community where multiple refugee families are forced to live in a 700 sq. ft. apartment due to poverty and have difficulty in understanding life in the US. Inviting them into my home and asking them to teach me their language and share their culture with me is just one way I can communicate VALUE for them in my life. Each week, my wife and I host community events where our main goal is to bring people together. To hear of other's struggles and goals and to ask "what can we do?" This is our discipline of praying with our feet. While they may not believe like me, dream like me, work like me, talk like me, or think like me… As a Jesus follower, it is my duty to love and serve them and create space for them to love and serve me. This is what it means to pray with your feet.
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Aizaiah is a compassionate and visionary leader who has a heart for ministry and people. He spent the past five years serving as an Associate Pastor at a local church and has recently transitioned into higher education leadership focusing on Diversity and Intercultural Development. He is husband to his wife, Neddy Yong for 4 years and a father to his newborn baby girl, Serenity Joy. Aizaiah loves adventure, sports, and meeting people! He has a deep passion to inspire anybody who will listen to join in on God's renewing work in the community and world. He is currently working at Vanguard University as the lead for Diversity and Inclusion and resides with his family in Anaheim, California.