What Now? Take a Good Look!

November 8, 2020

Today the election was decided.  Today many folks are ecstatic and many are despairing.  

Today we are being given an opportunity to reflect on what was and consider what we want to become going forward.

These last few months and years, the shadowy places in our hearts and minds, our families and our communities, our culture and our nation – those shadowy places we try to ignore – have been brought into the light. We have come to realize as of this past election that we are a country deeply divided – not even close to being united as a people.

We talk a good talk: about ‘making America great again’, about ‘building the future together,’ about ‘we’re all in this together,’ about ‘loving God and loving everyone else – even our enemies.’ 

It all sounds so light filled and hopeful, but the reality has been revealed to be far different. It is a reality that I don’t think would have emerged so profoundly from the shadows into the light were it not for the emergence of the pandemic.  

The pandemic is indeed a horrific virus, BUT because its presence has forced us put our ‘busy lives’ on hold and pay attention, we can no longer ignore an equally horrific cultural contagion lurking in the shadows: prejudice, economic and educational caste systems, entitlement, elitism, self-centeredness with its ‘rest of the world be damned’ mindset, violent eruptions over opposing political points of view, and on and on and on.   I never thought I find anything about the pandemic to give thanks for, but perhaps this casting of light into the shadows might well be it, because if we are wise enough and brave enough to stand in the light by excluding ourselves from what this ‘good look’ reveals, we are not without hope!  It is possible that even 2020 can be redeemed. 

God can take even the worse of tragedies and redeem them for good if we are willing (Romans 8:28).

If we are willing…..

Willing to refuse to go back to the way things have always been – that place of highly overrated ‘normal.’ Oh, how quickly we have forgotten what that shadowy ‘normal’ really was!  

Willing to listen to voices we have previously chosen to ignore (because it might mess with our comfort zone) and make room for authentic dialogue – not debate – among differing perspectives.

Willing to evaluate all that has happened and make healing sense of it all for the good of all.

We have been given the space to see those things lurking in the shadows so that we might consider what needs doing – and now it is time to act!

It reminds me of a parable Christ once told: For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’  (Luke 14:28-30). To be sure, the parable was about the cost of discipleship, but I believe the words can apply to our current situation as well.   

We are at a tipping point as 2020 comes to a close. 

Personal sacrifices necessarily will need to be made on all sides for the greater good if we want our nation to tip in the direction of goodness and unity.  Are we willing?

Willing to do the work, willing to make the sacrifices, to finish building up a nation which is a light on a hill – a sign of God’s great goodness and love for all without exception?

I pray we don’t blow it. I pray we never go back to our shadowy normal. I pray that a new day is dawning and we will live to see peace come to our land. If such a day dawns, it will be because we aren’t just talking the talk of Christ’s commandments of love, but we are actually walking the Way – the Way of Light, the Way of Truth, the Way of Life – for ALL of God’s blessed and beloved creation!

And to God be the glory!  AMEN.  

Published by Pastor Catharine

Retired ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. I have a Master's of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry (with an emphasis on Spiritual Transformation of Community) from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

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