The long, brutal election season has ended. We have a new President-elect, and new circumstances to become adjusted to. We each come to this news and new reality with our own experiences and stories. I know many in our community are experiencing fear and grief as we gaze into the unknown of what this next Presidency will bring to our country, our world, our lives and the lives of our children.
This afternoon from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. our sanctuary will be open and our ministerial intern Matt Aspin and I will be available for conversation and quiet for any who need some support or a healing space. A brief ritual will be available as well for those who wish to feel some cleansing and blessing. (Our Adult Religious Explorations class tonight is Comfort Therapies and begins at 6:30 p.m. for those of you who might feel some need for some comfort. See our website or Facebook page for more information.)
Tomorrow evening Thursday, November 10th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., there will be a healing space available, too. Come and sit in the quiet, light candles for grief or for hope, take time to talk to some of your companions on this journey.
Last week in my sermon, I reminded myself and all of us of the words of Theodore Parker that were used by Martin Luther King, Jr: “The arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” That hasn’t changed in the last day; the shape of the arc may have realigned, but it hasn’t changed. It will still bend toward justice. I believe it wholly.
The work that we are called to do in the world hasn’t changed either. We are still called to bind up the broken, to offer healing and kindness, to welcome the stranger, to offer love to all of our neighbors, to protect the vulnerable, to tend this beautiful blue-green globe, our home.
There is much for us to do in the days to come, especially for those among us who are experiencing anger, grief, fear, confusion and loss. First, to allow ourselves the time to find a place of stability and wholeness. Grieve well, friends, but don’t stay there. Find a way forward: commit anew to work that heals and makes the world more whole, give time to people who need it, feed the hungry, love your friends, discover what new possibility for service there might be ahead.
Most importantly, begin to consider how you might listen to those you think of as the opposition or the other. For me, one of the clearest learnings in the last 24 hours has been to see that I need to find ways to hear the stories and pain and fear of people who see the world so very differently from me. If we are to find a way forward, it must be together, and the only way to do that is to pause to listen deeply, discard our imaginings of what the story might be, and begin to form pathways forward for us in deeper community.
I leave you with the words that ended our service last Sunday written by Reinhold Niebuhr:
Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope.
Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.
With love and in peace,