One of the tasks of ‘pastor’ is to help shepherd the flock through times of confusion and transition. It is not necessary to be the only mouthpiece for the congregation or to quickly heal all wounds, but I think it IS important for the pastor to offer some words of encouragement, hope, and direction moving forward after events of huge magnitude. So here’s my best attempt at faithfully responding to what happened last night…
This is a strange morning. Perplexing. Confusing. Disorienting. President Trump wasn’t my first choice…and yet he’s the choice. And I honor the democratic process that has gotten us to this point this morning. I don’t love the outcome, but I respect it. President Trump will have my support – as a person. I will pray for him. I will try my best to keep my words about him from ever being dishonoring. And yet, I find myself torn this morning as I wonder about the future of our country…and most importantly, it’s people.
This morning I find myself thinking about the Beatitudes – the beautifully challenging opening words of Jesus’ infamous Sermon on the Mount. I find myself thinking about the poor, the mourning, the meek, and the hungry; the merciful, the pure, the peacemakers, and the persecuted.
What does this morning feel like for those on the underside of our nation?
See, I’m going to be just fine. I’m a straight, white male who has a good job and is doing just fine financially…and we just elected a straight, white male who has a good job and is doing just fine financially. But what does it feel like for those who aren’t in my demographic? What does it feel like to wake up this morning as a Muslim man or a gay woman or an undocumented Mexican whose kids are American? What does it feel like to wake up this morning as someone passionate about the Black Lives Matter movement or the Dakota Access Pipeline or the ongoing destruction of God’s creation? Because up until this point, our President-elect has not proven to care too much about these folks and these issues.
And I pray that he actually does…truly I do and I will. I pray that President Trump will be a unifying force for a nation divided. I pray that President Trump will faithfully lead us into a new future as a nation – a united nation; a peaceful nation; a nation that loves and cares for all of its people.
But more than anything, on this strange and disorienting morning, I woke up committed to being the sort of pastor who leads the sort of church into loving the sort of people that Jesus loved. I woke up committed to helping my church actually be the church. I woke up committed to actually knowing and loving our neighbors. I woke up committed to actually being a supportive presence for all those who so often feel neglected.
I woke up convinced that, perhaps more than any time in my life, God could really use the church to be a leading and guiding force for peace, justice, hospitality, reconciliation, and goodness in our society. I woke up convinced that the church has a unique opportunity, at this moment in American history, to reclaim its original, grassroots mission of being ordinary radicals – a rag-tag group of normal people who have had their lives upended by the abnormal love and grace of Jesus and are committed to being the incarnation of this love and grace in a world that could desperately use a little love and grace.
So now is our time to rise up – not in fear and opposition; not in mindless allegiance to the status quo – but in subversive love that breaks down barriers, crosses bridges, and unites the country under the platform of Jesus – the poor, humble, Middle-Eastern vagrant who changed the whole world through a death-defeating, salvation-bringing, enemy-loving, peaceful means of self-sacrifice.
America’s been great for a long time and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. But it’s time to make America love again…and it can start with us.