Two and a half weeks after the election, I’m finally getting over my shock. I’ve read many reasons why Trump won: Voter turnout was low; Liberals did not listen to the hurting conservatives; Democrats were frustrated and didn’t vote; and on and on. The Sunday following this disastrous day, Ken Sehested preached just the sermon I needed to hear. (Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 118; Luke 21:5-10)
The Luke passage lists some of Jesus’ warnings about what is going to happen. In verse 19 he closes with the simple words: “By your endurance you will gain your souls. So we have this warning; Trouble – no getting around it. And we have this counsel: Endurance. What will that look like?”
Ken goes on to say that Trump didn’t generate the hatred we see today. Rather, “he focused it. He voiced it. He gave it shape. But the anger was already there, and we are responsible for addressing it with something more than shouting and threats.” He said there are many angry people now and they probably don’t care about Trump’s actual policies. They saw in Trump someone who might save them. Someone who might help them.
He quoted Parker Palmer: “Beneath the shouting, there’s suffering. Beneath the anger, fear. Beneath the threats, broken hears. Start there and we might get somewhere.” There is a whole lot of fear, anger and suffering in our world now. Only half of our population voted. Half! People are depressed and don’t know where to turn and Donald Trump looked like someone who could help.
I have a feeling when they see what happens in the next few months, they’ll regret their choice.
Ken gave suggestions for how we may endure. We need to listen attentively to the anger and pain of those around us. This isn’t going to be easy, but it must be done. Both sides need to tolerate the dissent around us. I need to listen but I also need to be heard. This will be a challenge for me because of my difficulty in managing my emotions. I become angry so quickly but I must be prepared to leave the room when I feel my emotions rising and return when they are under control.
His final suggestion is found in the Isaiah text with its words about a new heaven and a new earth. The wolf and lamb being together. We need each other in order to persevere. We need to return week after week to our communities of conviction. He shared a Mexican proverb that says, “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we are seeds.” We need other seeds so we can grow together.
Following the sermon, a group of singers and instrumentalist (I sang) sang an arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s song, “Come Healing.” I had a little trouble getting through it and had to drop out for a few words. But it helped so much to sing the chorus which says “Come healing, Come healing, Come healing of the Spirit, come healing of the limb.”
Our country needs healing. Come Lord Jesus, Come.