Marilyn: The election is over. And yet I feel invited into despair for our nation in these last few days. I thought I lived in a nation where kindness and civility would win the day … overwhelmingly. I thought I lived in a nation where truth and honesty and compassion and care for one another would achieve a landslide of support. But I don’t. This past week’s almost 50-50 result has proven that I don’t. But that revelation has reminded me that my hope is built on something more than politicians and civil society. My hope is built on the love of God and the ever-present reality of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. As that song says, on Christ, the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.
Don: Boldly Choose Love. It seems like ages ago, I sat in on a ZOOM worship service from our UCC. It was the eve of the election. “Choose Love!” said John Dorhauer. Yes, we are still a nation deeply divided. Biggest turnout of voters in history. Largest number of votes received by both candidates. Still hovering at that 50/50 mark. Boldly choose love. I remember again my days teaching parenting and marriage enrichment. I remember the quote, ‘Love is a Decision’. But this isn’t a fluffy, ‘why can’t we all just get along’ kind of love. It’s not about the rule of nice that keeps us from going deeper out of fear of conflict. It’s not standing on shifting sand so that we don’t offend anyone. It’s the hard work of standing in the authenticity and integrity of what you want for the world and boldly choosing love. And you know this is not easy. In a culture that defaults too easily to polarization and demonization, and labeling and name calling and shouting and bullying, it is not easy. It’s a choice. It’s not a position, its an action. On that rock we choose a different way of behaving in the world. We are God’s beloved children, so are ‘they’. To boldly choose love is to decide to see ‘them’ through God’s eyes of compassion.
Marilyn: Now this might sound like I am advocating that we turn our backs on all the troubles of our nation. It might sound like I am advocating that we just cover our eyes and put fingers in our ears and spend all our time reading the Bible and that is not so. Because standing on the solid rock of Jesus demands that we continue to work toward the beloved community that his ministry among us envisions. The work of love and justice, the work that always moves toward human flourishing for all is what making God’s love and justice real means.
Don: Boldly Demand Justice: In a world where partisan ideologies have consequences for future generations living on this planet and for current generations still suffering the systemic oppression from our history we are called to choose to stand on that solid rock, the rock of Christ’s love. Its love that calls us to action. “Be the Church” we proclaim: “protect the environment, care for the poor, forgive often, reject racism, fight for the powerless, share earthly and spiritual resources, embrace diversity, love God, enjoy life”. Something within those words goes deeper than partisan ideologies to a common longing for a common good. So, no, we do not stand frozen in despair. No, we don’t sink into divisive or abusive tactics. We boldly speak and witness.
Marilyn: No, when I say that we need to remember that our faith calls us to stand on Christ, the solid rock, I mean that we do not need to spend hours watching CNN, feeling our blood pressure rise as we hear about the latest tweets and observe the lack of courage shown by many of our nation’s leaders. We don’t have to lay awake at night worrying about what is going on in the nation. As Martin Luther wrote, “and though the earth with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will not fear for God has willed the truth to triumph through us.”
Photo by Aseem Chaudhary on Unsplash
The Rev. Marilyn Kendrix is Bridge Conference Minister. Kendrix, a 2013 graduate of Yale Divinity, earned that school’s Henry Hallam Tweedy Prize for exceptional promise in pastoral leadership, the highest prize conferred on a graduating student ...
Don Remick is Bridge Conference Minister.