Note: I wrote this letter to my congregation, but I’m posting it here, because it may speak to others, too. May God’s peace and love hold us and carry us through this uncertain time!
November 12, 2016
Dear friends in Christ,
While some are rejoicing in the outcome of our presidential election, this has been a gut-wrenching week of grief and fear for many of us.
I write this letter out of deep love and concern for all of you, but especially for our sisters and brothers who are most vulnerable: our loved ones who are immigrants, LGBT, people of color, survivors of sexual assault, and who worship God differently than we do. Over the past few days, I’ve spoken and cried with a number of these sisters and brothers. They’re terrified of what’s happening now and even more terrified of what may be coming. They’re afraid they will be rounded up and cast into detention centers. They’re afraid of laving their marriages annulled and losing their children. Our sisters and brothers of color fear for their personal safety, as racial slurs are being hurled at them. Survivors of sexual assault are reliving their trauma and are feeling unsafe in the wake of the many sexist and misogynist things that are being done and said.
This is heartbreaking. Before we’re anything else, we’re ALL children of God, created in the image of our loving Creator. NO ONE should have to live in fear because of who they are, where they’re from, what they look like, or who they love.
Thursday evening I attended an interfaith rally for inclusion at Pioneer Courthouse Square. It was good to be with other people who believe in love. It was good to come together as the beloved community of God’s children, united in our common humanity and promising to stand together and care for each other, especially for our most vulnerable sisters and brothers. Near the end of the rally, a young Muslim man stood up and said, “I was afraid to come here tonight, because today my two sisters were harassed just for wearing their head scarves. They were told they would be deported…. But now I’m glad I came, because I know you will all be there to protect me…..”
And I cried. Again. In fact, I haven’t stopped crying since Wednesday….. Mostly, my tears have been about grief, because it feels like Good Friday—like someone or something dear has died. Yet I have also shed some tears of joy, as I’ve witnessed some of the beautiful ways people are caring for each other. In my broken heart I know that these tears are watering the seed of hope that’s planted in the tomb.
I need your help, dear ones.
I need you to be the Body of Christ for the people you know and love who are hurting. They’re scared, and some of them are hiding, so please reach out to them in love. Be the welcoming arms of God. Be the strong and gentle presence of Christ. Stand up and speak out when you hear or see something hateful. Sit down next to someone who’s being harassed. Start a conversation with that person, while ignoring the person who is doing the harassing…. This will not be easy. The way of Jesus never is, but it is the way of life—for us and for our neighbors, especially for the most vulnerable ones, whom Jesus calls “the least of these.”
In order to do this work, we will all need to pray. A lot.
I’m praying for strength and guidance for myself. I’m praying for all of you. I’m praying for our president-elect and his administration, that they will do their part to bring healing. I’m praying for the people of our nation, that we will stop turning on each other and that we will turn toward each other in love. I ask you to pray for me, too, that I may have the strength and courage to do whatever God calls me to do.
I’m feeling very torn because I’m not able to be with you this Sunday, dear ones. I leave this morning for Washington, DC, where my husband, Robert, will be attending a conference with German diplomats. We also plan to visit the Holocaust Museum and the new Museum of African American History. I’m sure I’ll have much to tell you when I return!
Please know that I’ll be with you Sunday in the power of the Spirit.
Yours in Christ,