We began work on this issue in autumn, an especially strange and fearful autumn around our Washington, D.C. home. War drums-coming out of nowhere in August, growing mysteriously, persistently louder-would have been anxiety enough. Then a gunman (or, as we now know, two gunmen) began shooting people in the Washington metro area, randomly and from a distance, killing them with single shots as they performed the most mundane daily tasks of American life. You know a situation is messed up when going shopping begins to feel like an act of brave defiance.
Along with fear was grief-for those killed and wounded in our area and around the world, and for friends and mentors who happened to pass on during this time-Chuck Matthei, a Sojourners founding board member, and longtime peace activist Richard McSorley, SJ. Rolling to war, ducking for cover, and choking back tears; it's enough to wear a soul out.
But every day-often in much, much worse circumstances-people of faith and conscience choose to hope, and choose to work that others may have hope. Some claim that hope through works of mercy: feeding, sheltering, clothing, comforting, and advocating for those who are impoverished, ill, mourning, imprisoned, or oppressed. Some fashion creations that speak beauty, truth, and goodness. Some act out their choice through prayer: in solitude; in the laying on of hands for those who need healing in heart, mind, or body; by joining the prayers of millions for peace, mercy, and justice. Some pursue hope by demonstrating and marching; by laying their bodies down in acts of civil disobedience; or by helping organize for causes, local, national, and international.
Humbled, we realize: How can we do less? So today we choose hope. -The Editors