The guys on the corner waiting for Miriam’s Kitchen are excited, and not just from a respite from the bitter cold. Marchers on the street, waving signs with Trump’s picture and shouting into a bullhorn “No Fascism” reminded me once again of the anxiety in the air here in Foggy Bottom. By the time you read this, we may already have a new president and know exactly what lies ahead of us these next four years, but today it’s still uncertain.
Living with uncertainty has always been hard, particularly if the signs into the future point in an undesirable direction or call into question deeply held beliefs. Many Christians facing uncertainty look at their faith to determine what they can be certain of, particularly when all else seems lost.
While that may be helpful in the short run, it often results in factional thinking, as groups draw lines as to who is in and who is out. For instance, in response to uncertainty about the growing scientific evidence of evolution, fundamentalists in the last century insisted on belief in biblical inerrancy, the virgin birth, and the literal resurrection of Christ. A Christian must be absolutely certain of these things.
Contemporary Christians have suggested that instead of providing absolute certainty, Christian faith supports life in the midst of uncertainty. Rather than focusing on what is certain or not, our stories and songs, theology and traditions, prayers and practices ground us in faithful living for wavering times.
Even in this uncertain time, we may share God’s joy and justice, not because of anything we can prove, but because we know God whose light shines in darkness. We have heard of God’s unwavering faithfulness, of the divine ability to create order out of chaos, even from the very beginning. We know Christ, whose life, death and resurrection show us that earthly powers do not have the last word, and that nothing can separate us from God’s love.
Our faith doesn’t give us certainties that fit on signs or that can become lines to decide who is in and who is out. Instead, it equips us to live as lights in the darkness, grounded in God who gives us all we need.
There are, of course, exceptions; in this case, a big one. No matter what happens on Friday, no matter what happens to you or me, we may be absolutely certain of God’s love. Nothing – no power is strong enough – to separate us from that love in Christ. May that love ground all that we do- this weekend and always,