This morning we awakened to the news that Donald Trump is our nation’s President-Elect. The reaction of many has been a visceral one. For some, this election result feels like a capitulation to an anger and fear and hatred in our country that is unfathomable and unacceptable. And yet for others this election marks the beginning of a time they hope will “make America great again”. Both views are now undeniably part of this nation’s worn and tattered fabric. Both views will be present in our church pews across the Minnesota Conference this Sunday.
Last week I reflected on the stark divisions this campaign season has clearly revealed for us, and the jagged social wounds we as Church must address:
We have a moral and theological imperative to be fully engaged in the healing, restorative work our nation now so desperately needs. As a prophetic church, we must be willing to name and confront the social sins — racism, sexism, xenophobia, etc.—that this campaign season has so harshly laid bare. But at the same time we as Church have to find a way to make real our own theological language of grace, forgiveness, and redemption. We need to call upon that extravagant love we proudly profess to begin stitching the gaping wounds of our nation back together. And while doing it we need to be willing to see the sacred and inherently good image of God in every single person we encounter, even and especially when the person in front of us is the person with whom we have adamant disagreement.
The time for this sacred work is now. Whatever else may have seemed to radically shift overnight, this much remains…Our God is a God whose love excludes no one, whose power and possibility are timeless, whose care for us endures. Our God is a God who sees each and every one of us – immigrant, LGBTQ & straight, black and white and brown, differently-abled, male and female, rich and poor, conservative and liberal – as precious beyond measure. Our faith is a Resurrection Faith that proclaims stubborn hope amid the deepest despair, a faith resilient enough to navigate the peaks and valleys of our lives. And our United Church of Christ is a multi-racial, multi-cultural, anti-racist, open and affirming, accessible to all, justice-loving, peace-making, extravagantly loving kind of Church.
That is exactly the kind of Church we must fully and passionately be now. A verse in the lectionary assigned for this Sunday warns us to not be idle and offers this commission: “Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13)
And this is my prayer for us all on this day. Let us not be weary. Let us not allow our anger, our despair, or our fear to squelch our passion or to dim the light we must dare to shine on injustice and wrong. Let us work daily to embody the kind of vision for our world and for our neighbor that our scriptures call us to boldly build. Let us be the Church that Christ implores us to be— yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And let us overwhelm the light of day with unquenchable love, undaunted purpose, and unbounded grace.
With you in this sacred work-
Reverend Shari Prestemon, Conference Minister