Many of us were shocked and saddened by the unexpected outcome of this last election. The fear and anger we are feeling is real. As I have sat with many of you over the last several weeks, I have felt your anguish and your worry not only for those we know and love but for the many populations in this country that may now be even further at risk. And beyond what we think of the outcome of this election there is a collective rage in our country that must be understood and dealt with.
I contend that the issues surrounding this election are not so much partisan or even political as they are moral. If the candidate now elected president follows through on his campaign promises we, as Unitarian Universalists, will have to stand up for those under attack. We will need to be allies of those organizations that are resisting hate. We will need to stand with our neighbors and their rights. This will be our work to do and, in time, we will do that work.
For now though I want us to heal. The feelings we are feeling as religious progressives has all the markings of grief; shock, denial (the #notmypresident movement, the hope that the electors will vote otherwise and talks of succession are forms of denial), the anger, the bargaining (maybe it will be ok, let’s give him a chance) and finally the acceptance which will come. Grief doesn’t necessarily happen in this order but it is happening.
What we need right now is a church in which to heal and strengthen our lives for the days ahead. What we need now is for our church to become a place of sanctuary; a sacred space wherein all are welcome to find comfort, compassion and companionship. What we need now is to be a sanctuary in deepest sense of that word; a haven for those seeking safety from the world, whether they be those who feel threatened politically because of who they are or those of us who need a place to be sheltered from the onslaught of hatred that spews forth from the news and social media.
Please tell your friends that we are offering sanctuary this holiday season. Less pontificating on the election and the struggle ahead and more of a place where we are accepted as we are, Loved Beyond Belief, political or religious. Tell your friends to come and be healed. The work ahead will call us on, but for now we need to be in community, in the presence of one another, from our children to our elders.
Our spiritual theme for December is “Presence”. Nothing could be more fitting for where we are publically and personally. As we enter the holidays consider that the world is full of unnoticed gifts and grace. The greatest gift of the holidays is noticing the many gifts that have been sitting there all along, starting with the gift of each other.
See you in Church, Rev. John