I meet with some clergy friends in Portland once a month for conversation and mutual support. I had to leave this month’s meeting a little early, and as I was packing my things, standing up to go, one woman said, “Maybe next month, we can talk about what it’s like to be a pastor during this time, uh, politically. Like, what we respond to, how we engage with our communities, how we care for parishioners with differing opinions…” I sat back down.
It’s a new world for all of us. Not just pastors. My friend could have said, “Maybe next month, we can talk about what it’s like to be a person during this time…” and it would have been the same. Everyone I know feels some combination of overwhelmed, outraged, and helpless – some of that is about their own lives, and some of it is about our collective reality. There’s an endless list of topics to call our senators about, marches happening every weekend, causes preached on every corner. There is always the question of what is political (all of it) and what is personal (all of it) and what is religious (all of it) and how, if at all, those worlds can and should meet (of course they must; there’s no avoiding it).
But listen: the church was made for a time like this, born in a time like this. The church exists for exactly this reason: to counter the narrative of hopelessness and helplessness; to proclaim that a different world, a new kin-dom, is possible and is even already on its way. We keep coming together because when we do, we see glimpses of it. I see people – I see you – transforming our little corner of the world. You show up, you sing and pray, you pass out laundry cards and hard-boiled eggs, you teach children a craft, you rally for neighbors in need, you sit around conference tables to plan for a church that can continue to thrive so it can continue to serve. All of that builds a better world. All of that prophetically re-imagines our current reality. Any time we invest in each other, any time we love with our words and our hands and our feet, we make real the faith we proclaim. Carry on with grace and guts, friends. (And if you’re looking for a place to plug in and do this, let me know.)