The Morning After: A Pastoral Letter to our Congregation

Lenten Photo Challenge: Catching UpTo my beloved Brookmeade:

I thank God for you*, dear Brookmeade, especially today. Your witness for justice and peace permeates your beautiful history and focuses your current ministries. Your extravagant welcome for all people is your very way of being. You are so unwaveringly authentic. You are a sweet snapshot of the realm of God, a delicious taste of God’s eternal feast. You might be a little uncomfortable with those God-infused words. Today, God-words and God-ways matter more than ever in our life and work together.

We rise on the morning after Election 2016. Hate and fear won that race. Over the past year and a half, hate and fear were unleashed, glorified, magnified and normalized. In the end, hate and fear captured the hearts and minds of half our fellow citizens. 

This election decision-making cycle was short on issues clarification and oh-so-very long on whom to hate and whom to fear. Black persons. Latinx persons. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender nonconforming persons. Persons living with disabilities. Persons outside of right-wing Christianity. Poor people. People with unmet basic needs. Competent women.

“Make America Great Again” became “take America back” from those “other” people. De-fund them. Exclude them. Mock them. Lock ‘em up. Deport them. Kill them. Explicitly stated. Fervently promised. Loudly cheered. And now, voted in.

We woke up today grieving the death of a national commitment to “liberty and justice for all.” The only way through grief is to grieve. Unattended grief can morph into apathy or depression or — the irony — into the very anger and fear we fervently renounce. Let us grieve together, beloveds. Let us give ourselves time and space to be in prayer for one another and for our nation.

We are not defeated nor disgraced. We remain people of the Way of Christ: valuing persons over issues; choosing celebration parties over political parties; living out God’s way of justice and peace, especially when “all are created equal” loses at the ballot box.

We will continue to speak an alternative word.

We will continue to create an alternative community.

We will rise strong because our faith declares that resurrection is real.

We rejoice, beloveds! God has given us precious life again this day.

And we have Love’s work to do.

Every “you” in this letter is a “y’all” and “all y’all” — plural — community.

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