Nourishment for Justice

Over the past (almost) four years I have been a student at the School of Theology & Ministry (STM), I have learned a great deal about myself theologically, spiritually, and physically. As I discovered a more authentic version of my best self, many areas of my life have been finessed. This month’s theme is nourish. For me, it means, what feeds us?

But more importantly, what do I need to be fed for? What do I need nourishment for? The crux of my faith and the foundation of my being is to seek justice. The very same justice that Jesus strived to make a reality here, on earth, during his short time with us. My sense of vocation and calling is to live out the gospel message of radical love and justice. It is daunting most days. The world is in disarray, people are suffering, and sometimes I just want to crawl under my warm comforter and watch Netflix documentaries rather than deal with the real world outside of my home.

To seek justice, I need to be prepared; I need to be centered and nourished. I need to be spiritually grounded (known as, or referred to as, personal piety in my Wesleyan heritage). For me, daily spiritual and prayer practices are essential. I encounter God in many ways, through daily walks with the Divine where I reflect on life and dream of possibility. I meditate on the random quotes given to me while I drink my favorite brand of tea; sometimes they ring too true to bring comfort. Monday nights, I practice yoga where I allow myself to breath and be open to the world. I am spiritually fed by my time spent with close friends who I break bread with and by attending worship at my faith community. This beautiful hodgepodge of lived-out spirituality nourishes my soul and my soul aches when I neglect this part of my call to justice.

To seek justice, I need to be physically ready for justice. We are embodied beings. One cannot ignore this fact, and we need to be able to function properly. I live this out by combining a few of my spiritual practices with the physical: walking and yoga. The other way is how I nourish my body. If I don’t eat, or eat healthily, I can’t seek justice in the ways I can when I am feeling great and ready to take on the world. I have food allergies so I need to be careful or I am knocked out for a few days. Food has become something difficult at times, but also turned into a way I can find something divine. Recently, I realized that a typical Sabbath for me involves preparing and cooking food. Food and activity nourish us; to be healthy (whatever that looks like for you) is vital to be prepared for justice. Justice isn’t easy; it isn’t fast, so we need to be sustained.

Finally, to seek justice, I need to be theologically rooted. To seek justice is to know why you are seeking. It’s not for my own personal gain or for the prestige; it’s because of how I understand my own personal theology—a theology built on the gospel message of love and justice while working to create the Kin-dom of God here and now. Why do I feel called to seek justice? Isaiah 58:6 states: “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” We are called to see justice, which grounds my theology. Although theology nourishes my questions, creating new ones, and rarely gives me a definitive answer, it helps me articulate why I seek justice.

This is why I seek nourishment for justice. What nourishes you? And what do you need nourishment for?

Irene DeMaris

STM Cycle of Prayer

We pray today for the United Methodist Church, their communities and students in our midst, and for Meredith Dodd, their Formation Chaplain, and Carol Mariano, Liturgical Chaplain; Jessica Palmer, Graduate Assistant; Terri Stewart and Jane Strong, students.

Student Reflections SU STM Daily Prayers

Daily Prayers: February 23, 2016

2015-04-20 12.46.45

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers

 Psalms 1:1-3

STM Cycle of Prayer

We pray today for the Presbyterian Church (USA), their communities and students in our midst, and for Scott Anderson, their Formation Chaplain, and Julie Kae Sigars, Liturgical Chaplain; Carolyn Lane, Graduate Assistant; Mars Tanumihardja and Elizabeth Theriault, students.

SU STM Daily Prayers

Daily Prayers: February 22, 2016



The Nourish Poem

This morning I had nothing left,
Not even the will to drink,
So I let myself be deserted,
Formed into a trough
To be sipped, eventually gulped,
As an urn of the Beloved,
Made of trees and stones,
Black soil and quenching waters
In this circle of enduring Earth,
Spark of life seeded in the breath.
Once I noticed your generosity
I allowed myself to feel
Just how thirsty I have been,
Which also awakened my hunger
To be had, filled again by Beauty,
Its simple gifts: the breath
That breathes us and the nourishment
Nature provides, filling me
Not only with the gratitude of reception,
But its hidden side: overflow
For giving back.
A great otherness lives inside me,
Breathing me, if I care to notice,
And so nourish the actualization
Of all imagined, if I but care
To inhabit the palace
Of its invisible architecture,
This chunk of Earth,
We call the body.
So I let go clinging to the face
Of what seems so real,
Doing the busy days on my own
As a mausoleum of self-preservation.
Now I begin the mornings
As a worthy, disciplined dependent,
Vessel of inspiration
At the gates of this fleshy heaven,
Of hallowed land, breathed by the breath.
Grown from the ground inside me
Too close to notice
When I am but a doing-machine, producing,
Trying to maintain what I must also allow,
Fertilized by the source of life,
Center of the Earth
In order to proceed supporting the cycle
Of birth, life, death, and rebirth—
All the body, my senses, this breath, a common carbon chain,
Reconstituting the world inside me, already breathing,
Already brimming, when I care enough to allow it
To remake, charge, and recharge me.
This morning I could barely breathe,
Was forced to discover another way
To grow some meager sighs into bellows,
Finally a forest fire of buoyant becoming,
Which was the beginning of this blessing.
For this you rely on me, my small wonder,
Surrendered enough to receive,
To fulfill your gracious giving,
Welcome you back to your home in my belly,
To manifest such wholeness.
Too fast, we go too fast these days
If we do not also slow to replenish,
Trust also in the power of softness.
Oh, the deeper I accept my hollows
The more fulfilled I can be, allow myself
To be filled again and again by the gift,
All for free.
When so many fill their depths with things
Where a cool, vibrant emptiness must exist
We cloud your eyes, congest your lungs,
Dam your veins, constipate your belly,
Inhibit sunlight, polluting the air,
Sludging the rivers, warming the planet,
Hampering rebirth, all because
We fail to realize what is already given
And grieve what can be forgiven,
Allowing us to receive, return the favor,
Complete the cycle of nourishment
When we but take the time
To notice and be noticed,
To love and be loved.

Jack Adam Weber

STM Cycle of Prayer

We pray today for the Unitarian Universalist Association, their communities and students in our midst, and for Marian Stewart, their Formation Chaplain, and Lois Van Leer, Liturgical Chaplain; Edward Donalson, Graduate Assistant; Heather Thompson and Karen Georgia Thompson, students.

SU STM Daily Prayers

Daily Prayers: February 21, 2016



And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look, he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows: a bright
Serpent, a river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.

On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The Sky. Many people
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs. The son watched
Them. Let me go there, he said.

R.S. Thomas 

STM Cycle of Prayer

We pray today for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), their communities and students in our midst, and for Marvin Eckfeldt, Outreach Team Chair, Kara Markell, Formation and Liturgical Chaplain; Irene DeMaris and Elmer Dickson, students.

SU STM Daily Prayers

Daily Prayers: February 20, 2016



May the angels of light
glisten for us this day.
May the sparks of God’s beauty
dance in the eyes of those we love.
May the universe
be on fire with Presence for us this day.
May the new sun’s rising
grace us with gratitude.
Let earth’s greenness shine
and its waters breathe with Spirit.
Let heaven’s winds stir the soil of our soul
and fresh awakenings rise within us.
May the mighty angels of light
glisten in all things this day.
May they summon us to reverence,
may they call us to life.

John Philip Newell -from Praying with the Earth: A Prayerbook for Peace

STM Cycle of Prayer

We pray today for the Human Person and the Discovery of Meaning class taught by Richard Jackson; Juliana de Margalhaes Castro and Allison Decker, students.

SU STM Daily Prayers