Uncertainty. That’s what’s on my mind. When I preached on January 3, it was less than two weeks ago on my calendar (writing, January 14) , a month ago from your viewpoint (reading the February Sojourner), and centuries from the perspective of American history. I reminded us then that “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”
My Greek professor, Miss Lang, told us that the ancients did not picture themselves standing boldly facing the future, with the past behind them. Unlike us moderns, they contemplated the past while the unknown future approached from behind. After all, they didn’t have fast moving vehicles or mirror technology.
But at New Years, I was expecting a slightly bumpy ride to a welcome transition. Little did I imagine. The objects rushing at us in the rear-view mirror turned out to be enormous disruptions, an attempted violent coup and a well deserved and unprecedented second impeachment.
So what can I say looking forward to February and beyond? At this point, I don’t know when or if there will be a senate trial and conviction. How will the inauguration go, with the capitol looking like an armed encampment? What will the outgoing president do? And meanwhile, we are looking at 4000 deaths a day from Covid. Vaccine distribution is behind schedule, erratic, and uncertain. Yet we human beings are resilient. We continue our individual mitigation until our collective efforts have defeated the virus. And we can live the best of our American ideals, supported by our Constitution to become the nation we ought to be.
You know more than I do. But from this viewpoint, all I can say is that we should always return to basic values. What certainty do we have? We don’t know how events will go, but we can always return to our deepest principles — justice, equity and compassion, truth and integrity, the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We may be tempted to dismiss those we disagree with, but we must remember to distinguish between the person and the behavior, to reach out with compassion, to not be pulled into the morass of hatred and disinformation.
So, may February be a time of renewal for you. The days are getting longer, we may see crocuses and robins soon. Hope rises. May we live from the best that is in us, so that our grandchildren will be inspired that we survived this time of trial and emerged as better, kinder, nobler people.
Update January 21: the Inauguration was lovely and inspiriting. A wonderful line from Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman: “Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.”
Love and light, Kerry