last night, after the voting polls had closed and ballots came pouring in as news stations around the country frantically tallied projected winners, christians from diverse traditions gathered around the table across our country to celebrate what we have in common, understanding in the center of our different politics and potential disagreements that
we. are. one.
we together realized, no matter the election results, while there are blood and tears and heartaches and arguments and banter that there is hope :: we eventually do meet the resurrected christ and can even now see him in each other – and it is real and true and
he. is. present.
God. with us. emmanuel.
in his acceptance speech, re-elected president obama stated we have gone ‘from the depths of despair to the heights of hope,’ and acknowledged that in our arguments and passions and disagreements we find a mark of our liberty.
a chance to argue about issues that matter.
the most poignant thing about acknowledging these differences is, i think, that we have an opportunity to listen to and learn from one another. yet unlike the 90% of negative ads that spewed out of our televisions this election season, we have an obligation – as christ followers – to do so valuing civil conversation and compromise for the purpose of community and belonging.
rebuilding begins with unity.
unity is not uniformity. in christ, there is unity in diversity – in a tolerance, acceptance and celebration of our differences. it is in this that we are unified – the recognition and joy of one another’s humanity – standing together, living as a loving and benevolent community despite our differences.
in the expanded words of the apostle paul in the first century ::
we are all children of God through faith in christ jesus – for all of you who were baptized into christ have clothed yourselves with christ. there is neither jew nor gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, FOX news nor CNN, republican nor democrat, beautiful nor ugly, gay nor straight, capitalist nor communist, rich nor poor – for you are all one in christ jesus.
may those who are happy and encouraged and energized by last night’s results, along with those who angry and disappointed and fearful, understand the reality that we are indeed one – connected in our humanity and our need of true community and belonging.
in some wise words spoken from rob bell to his former congregation at mars hill ::
• so when you find yourself tied up in knots, having
long discussions about who believes what, a bit like
dogs doing that sniff circle when they meet on the sidewalk,
do this ::
take out a cup
and some bread
and put it in the middle of the table,
and say a prayer and examine yourselves
and then make sure everybody’s rent is paid and there’s
food in their fridge and clothes on their backs
and then invite everybody to say
‘yes’ to the resurrected christ with whatever ‘yes’ they
can muster in the moment when you take that bread
and you dip it into that cup in the ancient/future hope
and trust that there is a new creation bursting forth right here
right now and
then together taste that new life and liberation and
forgiveness as you look those people in the eyes gathered around that table from all walks of life and you see the new
humanity, sinners saved by grace, beggars who have
found bread showing the other beggars where they found it
remind youreselves that
may God grant us his grace and peace as we together strive to rebuild what has been broken – in our country, in our communities, and in our congregations.