Beloved St. John’s community,
As I write this on Thursday morning, the election is close, but not certain, and could still go either way. Perhaps by the time you read this this afternoon, things will have shifted again. While we are waiting, what is it that God’s Spirit is whispering to us even now? What do we see, and hear, and know deep in our bones?
We know beyond any shadow of a doubt that this election matters. But it is not ultimate. Our work is the same whether our next President is Trump or Biden. Our work is about healing, about practicing the Way of Love, and perhaps at this time in history, above all, about recognizing that we ourselves need healing.
What is it that we need healing from?
We have said that God is calling St. John’s to follow Jesus by centering the work of racial healing and justice in our community. But racial healing does not just mean for people of color. White people have been deeply harmed by the culture of white supremacy—by which I do not mean the KKK or intentionally racist attitudes and thoughts. By “white supremacy,” I mean the ubiquitous, mostly unconscious assumption that “white” (and everything that goes with it) is the norm, whereas all other colors and cultures are “other.” In this mindset that is almost as impossible to see as the ocean is impossible to detect by the fish who swim in it, the intellect—separated from intuition, emotion, experience or embodied experience—is the best basis upon which to make decisions. In this mindset, either/or, polarized thinking prevails. In this mindset, transactions and ideologies are viewed as more important that relationships and wonder. What if God is asking us to break free from either/or thinking, so that we can see God, ourselves, and one another clearly?
What if God is asking us, not to relax values, but to ground them in a different place—not in the place of ideas and the abstract, but instead in relationship with the living God and real human beings with bodies, in all their breathtaking diversity and beauty?
Imagine yourself walking through the nation with brand new eyes, with a wide open heart. Imagine grounding your own life in the relational love of God, beginning with our relationship with God, and extending to relationship with all other beings. Imagine that even in the midst of these terribly trying times—in the midst of the COVID-19 and COVID-1619 pandemics—we can still have the resilience to also experience joy and laughter, because we are connected with one another and with God, and because we believe and have experienced that love heals?
Today, as we sit in limbo, perhaps we might welcome this time as an opportunity to break free from either/or, transactional thinking. Imagine that God’s Spirit is like a parent or a lover, embracing you with delight, and constantly seeking to be made known to you. Imagine that God’s Spirit has guidance for you at every moment of the day—and that this guidance arises not just from your thinking mind, but also from your body, your intuition, your connection with others and from the scriptures as they interact with your own lived experience. Imagine that all others in this country are equally loved by God—even those you are most tempted to hate.
Today, as we sit in limbo, I’d invite us all to make some time to sit with the living God and with ourselves. As I recently heard a minister from Liberty Community Church say, “we are called to be fully in this moment, but not of this moment.” Our healing, deliverance, and hope is not in the next President. It is in the living Christ who loves, who heals, and who is always making everything new.