I’ve intentionally waited a few days to write this blog. Partially because I was without meaningful words for a couple of days. Partially because I needed to just sit with the unexpected outcome of the election and not be reactive. Partially because I have been observing the reactions of others.
I think my personal reaction to the election results is as much about seeing the great divisions within our country come out from the shadows and clearly reveal itself then it is about who won or loss. And that is what has me off-balance a bit. It’s not that I haven’t known there were people who felt very differently about our world but it’s been hard to tell how those different perspectives broke down. It is much clearer now.
I think our political system is a real mess right now. How our politicians pick up the shattered pieces of the rhetoric, bombastic campaign promises and name calling and put a functioning government back together will be challenging, and that is putting it mildly. So I want to focus on us the people.
This morning I attended a Veterans Day breakfast at my church. I must admit that a few days after the election, a breakfast anything was the last thing I wanted to do on my Sabbath Friday morning. But God has a way of nudging me where I need to be. What really moved me was when the various hymns of the armed forces were played the older men in our church who had served in that branch of military stood up. Some of them had tears in their eyes. Some of them sang with gusto the words of their hymn. I was quite moved to clap for these gentlemen. I was reminded that there are lots of reasons to love our country and be proud of it even if right now people find themselves in a shaky place personally, politically or nationally.
Here’s my very best advice right now as we all recover from what has been a very traumatic election cycle. Listen to one another. Start listening more. Maybe you are feeling elated about the election result. Then listen hard to those who are upset. Whether you agree with them or not, do not try to justify the results. Just listen. Maybe you are scared because you are afraid of how you might be treated in the future. Then listen to those around you to try to understand why they voted the way they did and don’t assume their vote means they actually agree with everything a candidate said. If you are a woman, or an immigrant or black or Muslim or any of the categories of people who are confused and scared about what this means for what people actually think about you because of the political rhetoric, listen to the voices that are fervently saying we love and care about you. But also listen to the frustrated voice of those who feel like they have been ignored or left behind the last several years because maybe there are some commonalities that none of us could have predicted. If you are not one of those previously mentioned categories, listen hard to those who have grave concerns and try to understand why they feel afraid. Listen for what is good and decent in all of us. Don’t default to defensiveness or combativeness, try to listen more than you speak.
Most importantly, for you who are Christian, listen for God’s voice in the midst of this painful chaos. Last week the Scripture I preached from in Ephesians said that Christ is in charge of everything from galaxies to governments – forever. I believe that maybe now more than ever we Christians have the opportunity to be a shining example for how we treat each other and how we love one another no matter who is in the Governor’s Mansion or the White House. I can’t control our political system or its outcomes. But I can control my actions and my behavior. I choose to place Christ as number one in my life and I intend to live by His commands to Love God and Love Neighbor with all of my heart. If I do that and if you do that (and I mean ALL of our neighbors), maybe we will in fact create the world that all of us envision for our future. Will you join me?
All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. -Ephesians 1:20-22 The Message
Grace and Peace,