Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Exorcised Fear

So this morning the sun rose, as it does, and with my first deep breaths by the light of a new day I was reminded that the 3rd rock from the sun still orbits her Mother Star (Thank you, Copernicus--science, the more you know).

The outcome of the previous late night is now projecting its impact on our common future.  It's more than realizing that we are a 50/50 divided electorate (of those of us who voted...the other 45%..what's your deal?), or that we've endured as ugly and endless an election cycle as anyone should have to bear, or knowing we've been made pawns of media who profit by fomenting antipathy among its citizenry, and dark money PACs who expend millions to craft the narrative of their choice as truth without accountability.

It's more than swallowing hard in the recognition that the candidate who garnered my vote didn't win...Lord knows I'm used to that.  Shoot, the candidate I voted for didn't win the primary!  I've voted in 9 presidential elections... I'm 5-4...actually I'd argue I'm 6-3, but Florida, right?

Elections are supposed to be contests of ideas.  The presupposition is that with the winner comes the implementation of the ideas that framed the platform on which they ran because they won.  Elections have consequences. 

And that's just it, right? 

Recognizing that our system of government has checks and balances, when all branches fall under the control of one party, we should take pause at what the implications of that mean.

I serve as pastor of a church who is open to all, we sees the inherent value as children of God in each soul we serve, to each who comes to be part of our community. 

I pastor a church blessed by the presence, discipleship and leadership of members who are part of the LGBTQ community who must now worry that their rights to marry, to do business and to adopt will fall away.  

Whatever it is I thought of the Affordable Care Act (hated it, but not for the reasons those who will repeal it do), there are millions of citizens who have received the security of health care for the first time who are anxious.  Or what about adult children (like mine) who have been allowed to remain on their parent's insurance as a means of security during the years they're figuring out their lives?  Or what about those with pre-existing conditions?

What about the anger and venom spewed during this campaign and seemingly sanctioned by the campaign toward those of the Muslim faith, or the none too subtle anti-Semitic rhetoric, or Latinos, or those who are African American...basically those who aren't white?  

There was a day when misogyny lived in the secret places of work and home.  Not any more, it's been on full display and accepted as the way things are.  I think about the world my granddaughter will live in and wonder if she'll be allowed to reach her fullest potential without her gender being made a reason why she can't?

If the platform on which the President-elect ran is to be believed, then what then does that mean?  

As a citizen, I have to figure that out.

As a pastor, as a person of faith, I must as well.  Because the measure of all we say we believe about God, Jesus, and the Church is not gauged when all is right in our worlds, but precisely when it isn't. So what then shall I do:

I cannot do less but more--
     in my advocacy for equality for all God's children that "liberty and justice for all" is realized.
I cannot live in fear, but in hope.
I can be discouraged, but I cannot yield to despair.
I can be angry, but I cannot allow anger to do harm, only to bring intensified focus to bring about     
     good, the goodness of God and the common good of my fellow citizens.
I cannot be less graceful, but more graceful than I've ever known.
I cannot be less welcoming, but open wide the doors of my heart and my church for those seeking    
I cannot be less loving, but must let "Love Reign O'er Me".
I must pray for God's wisdom 
     for all who were elected and for those who celebrate on the day I'm left gobsmacked
     for the unity of citizenry.
I must claim with deepest conviction that "Perfect Love Casts Out Fear."

1 John 4 - from The Message
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.

"You've got to love both."  Why? For the sake of the Gospel?  Maybe. 

But far more likely it is for the sake of my own soul.
The power of Christ compels it.