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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

On the Sunday after.....


11/16



We gathered slowly, as if slowly awakening too a new reality. We open with Tutu’s words, more 
meaningful than ever now…

Goodness is stronger than evil;
love is stronger than hate;
light is stronger than darkness;
life is stronger than death.
Victory is ours, victory is ours
through him who loved us. 
Victory is ours, victory is ours
through him who loved us.




Our first hymn was “Today we all are called to be disciples of   the Lord…”  


and following threading of the Gospel, we shared this song by Leonard Cohen: 



The world we are in this Sunday is a very different world than we were in last Sunday and is a place none of us imagined we would be in. If you are like me, you are still somewhat in a state of shock, of disbelief.  I’ve been struggling all week to come up with the right words to share with our community. 

Tuesday night, I kept waiting for the tide to turn, it never did. At 1:30 AM, I watched an episode of “Gotham”, a Batman origins series. The Penguin had somehow managed to get elected mayor of Gotham City. I realized that we were like Gotham City with no Batman around to save us. My friend pastor Heidi said that she felt like she did when she watched the towers come down, like something horrible was  happening and that there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. My son Dan said that this was the most historic thing that had happened in his lifetime. I said that he had been alive for 9/11. And he said that this felt worse. And I understand that. I do feel that our country will never be the same.  Something about our very core has been called into question. Or brought to light. Something that goes to the core of our identity as a people. It’s that serious. 

There has been an unceasing outpouring of analysis and lamentation and exhortation on every media and especially social media. That is understandable.There is a deep felt need to try and make sense of this, it’s a coping mechanism. It’s why I’ve held back for awhile. Trying to feel where i need to be. There’s been outpourings of people into the streets …today I joined them…but there is no achievable demand we make …it’s only an expression of our anger, our fears, our commitment…but…

There are voices calling on us to “come together”…to “reconcile…” Not so fast. 

First, allow yourselves to grieve and mourn awhile. Let yourselves feel that. You don’t need to “move on..” or “get over it…”.….Not yet. Secretary Clinton and President Obama are saying all the right things, acting as if this were simply a transfer of governance, a transition. But there is a danger here of normalizing this process.  But this is not normal. Not in any way. Not at all

Michael Moore has daily 5 point to do lists…they are helpful but…

Draw close to people you care about and let them know you love them. That’s first.

We need to be in prayers of compassion and solidarity as well…
Politics aside, I feel deeply for Hillary Clinton…I’m sure that she went to bed Monday night fully believing that she would be President and calling Mr. Trump must have been the most difficult thing she’d ever done. 
And for President Obama, at the peak of his approval ratings, ready to leave a lasting legacy, To see it all called onto question if not outright rejected..
And I pray for my generation of women…my sisters…the ones who go back to the coat hangar abortion days…who fought for  choice…the ill fated Equal Rights Amendment…who accompanied women through gauntlets of Project Rescue militants …they saw in Hillary an affirmation of their lives and embodiment of their struggle, they saw Hillary’s presumptive presidency as breaking the glass ceiling, as a sign as significant as Obama’s election.Their sense of betrayal is personal and profound. I understood their support of Hillary in a way my boys never could.
And we must pray for all those who feel threatened and vulnerable, left insecure by this outcome…for immigrants, people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ persons…and given some of what has been unleashed, their fears are real…

Scriptures have an uncanny way of intersecting with our lives…Luke 21: 5-19 has the apocalyptic vision of the destruction of the  temple…perhaps a symbol as vital to that people as the presidency  is to us….I have a feeling that politics as we have  known them are over…the republican party has gone to where it has been headed and a venerable Democratic party has found its days over…

….the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down….

As Michael Moore put it, Donald Trump is a human Molotov cocktail…inspired by conversations overheard in a homeless encampment, my friend Catherine Feeney wrote these words on her  post-Occupy “America” album..

I  wanna make some loud noises 
Set something off 
Light it on fire and then 
Watch it blow up 

I am the whistle before the explosion 
I am the heat that makes powder expand 
Some days I wake up lucky 
Today I am the queen of the damned 

Something to empty 
Something to swallow 
Something to burn out 
Someone to follow 

I wanna make some loud noises 
Piss someone off 
Get a fight going and then 
Watch it blow up 
Make it blow up 

Something to empty 
Something to swallow 
Something to burn out 
Someone to follow

I’m not sure whether that represents Trump voters or how I feel right now…



Luke is very aware of what the consequences are of faithfulness in such times:



12"But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your souls.

We have NO idea what the days ahead of us may require..Luke’s  description of “betrayal” truly touches me…it is common…familiar…we’ve been there..remember the House UnAmerican Activities Committee hearings? Or the Harvard Secret Court of 1920 where friend and family turned against each other  in the homosexual trials ? Or the German Democratic Republic  where perhaps a half million or more  turned  informers?…..or what happens to Palestinian prisoners today?

and will lose your lives…

By your endurance you will gain your souls.

Thankfully, Isaiah  gives us a vision of an new creation….IF I have HOPE at all, it is  that a new creation will emerge…

Here is the Vision: The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent-its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.

It’s an image that hat has been special for my Quaker relatives. Their meeting house has the peaceable Kingdom Paintings by Hicks on the walls. It’s an image that comports me. 

Speaking ONLY of the CHURCH…I believe that we are called to be a community of resistance. 
WE are now called to define what Cornell West calls REVOLUTIONARY CHRISTIANS…a visible counter-cultural community…

And we must be absolutely committed to MAKING SAFE ALL WHO FEEL VULNERABLE. We also need to grow in understanding of the  forgotten people who supported Trump…like those from my my hometown…former mill towns and factory towns and mimic communities…left beside the road and treated with condescension by the liberal elite…
But we must never compromise with the other supporters, the voices of hatred and rejection…of misogyny, xenophobia, islamophobia, racism..

We need to engage in local projects…last Friday, Pastor Heidi and I met with the National Mobilization Against Sweat Shops  people…a new campaign is rising  to end wage theft through a Secure Wages Earned Against Theft bill…sin this campaign we walk shoulder to shoulder with those who have been made to feel threatened, the most vulnerable among us…the undocumented immigrants from Mexico, China, West Africa…

And friends, this is just the beginning…

Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

We shared our reflections with one another. Russ sees us at a new day needing a new prophetic way too be church. Pat is still in shock and disbelief. Leila surprised that we were surprised given the fear we had expressed last week. It is good to be together.

Our final hymn was “ O Day of Peace”:


Then we held  hands .Prayed. Sang Amen. And went back into the world…




Thank you Leila....



                                Oh...and Russ reminded us,"Now we must be Batman..."


                                                                     ****




First Reading Isaiah 65:17-25

17For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. 19I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. 20No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. 21They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the LORD-and their descendants as well. 24Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. 25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent-its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.

Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.


Gospel Luke 21:5-19

5When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, 6"As for these things that you see,
7They asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?" 8And he said, "Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, 'I am he!' and, 'The time is near!' Do not go after them.

9"When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately." 10Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.


12"But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your souls.

2 comments:

  1. in the drumpf's eyes i am a useless eater...so i am still afraid.

    ReplyDelete