A Post-Election Letter

November 9, 2016

From the Pastor

“Mommy, I want to hide under my bed for the next four years,” said Ginny, after wiping away tears over the election results this morning.  I assured her she wasn’t the only one who felt this way and asked if I could share this with you.  She agreed.

I’ve already heard from some of you regarding how you woke up this morning – about the shock, sadness, numbness, anger, grief and disbelief that hit you when you considered the consequences of last night’s election.  One of you said you hadn’t felt this way since 9/11; another merely commented “We’ve survived other presidents; we’ll survive this one, too.”  No one I’ve seen in DC today – on the streets of Foggy Bottom, on the Metro, on Capitol Hill where I ate lunch- looks exactly at peace, although I may be projecting my own state of mind and spirit.

One friend, Derrick McQueen, an African-American colleague who also happens to be gay, reminded his New York City congregation that although we have a harsh example of how a leader can harness the powers of hatred and fear, now we can have no illusions about the hatred, racism, sexism, and extremism alive across our nation.  Those of us who care about God’s justice in the world know more clearly what we are up against.

I would add that we also have a greater opportunity to figure out how to work with those with whom we disagree, whom we may consider dangerous, all for the sake of a love much greater than our own.

Even as administrations come and go in our nation’s capital, we who make our lives here are used to seeing Washington as “us.”  Regardless of whether we identify with the party in power, all of us inside the Beltway identify at some level with the status quo of how things work.  If Trump is true to his expressed priorities, we who seek to follow a God of justice and love may discover we are “them,” in the position of biblical prophets who held kings accountable, who warned of inevitable danger when those in power do not “seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.” 

At this time, Western’s ministry is more important than ever.  We need to comfort each other, to lament to God and to ask for strength and wisdom for ourselves and our nation moving forward.  We need to practice working with those with whom we disagree, focusing on the One who is our true leader, on the life of Jesus himself. 

When faced with Herod’s dangerous use of power, Jesus did not hide under his bed, nor did he plot the direct overthrow of the government.  In his life and ministry, Jesus lived according to an alternative rule, where loving God and loving one another demonstrated the ultimate power.  We’ll keep striving for that way here at Western.  As we do, may you come to know the love that God still has for you, for all people, and for all the world.

In faith, now as ever,