Wednesday, November 09, 2016
love one another.
as a pastor, i constantly struggle with what it means to pastor people with passionate differences of opinion. the congregations i have served have always been made up of both red and blue, black and white, gay and straight, conservative and progressive, passionate and apathetic, and so on and so forth. in the midst of these differences, i wrestle with how to love and act and speak in a way that welcomes all of this diversity of belief and thought.
when i find myself struggling with how to do this, my guide is always and ever Jesus.
and Jesus had one pretty major rule (he called it a new commandment): "love one another as i have loved you."
so on this day, when i am a bundle of emotions, and i find myself swinging between them freely and rapidly; when i find that i am blessed and humbled to be an american, but not nearly as proud as i have been before; when i see some of my facebook friends giving one another virtual high-fives, while others are openly weeping and wondering if there will still be a place for them in this country; when i wonder how to bring a congregation of people together in this new reality: i have one word:
i beg of you to love one another.
if your guy "won" last night, you may be feeling a surge of victory and adrenaline because the system may finally have to take notice of the things that you feel are important that have been slipping away. you may be tempted to taunt or demean others. don't. resist that temptation, and look for ways to connect with and love those who may be feeling hurt or even scared by the this result. try to understand how this might feel to someone different from you. and love them.
if your candidate "lost" last night, you may be feeling confused, angry, bitter, or deeply saddened. you may feel the temptation to lash out in that anger, to reduce this complex social reality to an over-simplified version of junior-high name-calling. don't. resist that temptation. and look for ways to connect with and love those who may be rejoicing today, because for them this feels like a great step forward. try to understand how this might feel to someone different from you. and love them.
we need each other. we need to listen and learn. we need, of course, more than anything, to love.
finally, one way i do know to be a pastor to both red and blue, to both those who are celebrating and those who are grieving, is to remind you that i am with you. that i am here for you. that the church is home for all of us. if you need to talk, please call or message me. or stop in the office. just know that you are loved, and that the great task before us has not changed: we must love as we have been loved.