Then Came the Morning.
I believe it was the Bill Gaither Trio that made the song that these words come from famous. It is a song about the despair that the Apostles and other followers of Jesus felt when they witnessed the crucifixion of their friend. They did not understand what had just happened and they had no idea what was going to come next, then came the morning, and the stone was rolled away, and death had been defeated. I know sappy words from a song is not what is needed right now, but it seems to fit.
I will admit that I am no supporter of Donald Trump and I will also admit that seeing him elected president of the country I love, and gave most of my adult life defending, affected me in a profound way. I was angry; I don't think I had been that mad in a long time and that anger turned to depression and then to despair. I worry, I worry a lot about what is going to happen in the next few years. I worry for my Muslim friends who Trump has vowed to round up and deport. I worry for my LGBTQ friends who he has promised to have their marriages annulled and his Vice President who believes in shock and conversion therapy to "change them."
I also worry about the damage this has done to the body of Christ. The white evangelical church got into bed with Trump a long time ago. I am not sure how they were able to reconcile his cheating, on two of his three wives, and all of the other comments he has made about women, immigrants, the disabled, and anyone who disagrees with him politically. I honestly believe they sold their soul, and the souls of their churches, on the promise that he will appoint judges to the Supreme Court that will roll back our country to the 1950's when they were able to control people. But at what cost has this come?
I listened very intently to his speech on election night, and he said all of the right words and promised to unify the country, but I am not sure how he can this. During his speech, someone yelled out "Hang Obama" and all along the campaign trail there were shouts of "lock her up." How does he walk that back? He made a promise that if he were elected, he would "lock her up." How can unity be achieved with a man who called Senator John McCain a loser for getting captured, made fun of a disabled journalist and talks about women as if they are items that he can use and throw away?
I was in a very dark place the day after the election, and I was unable to form the words of prayer. I was genuinely surprised by my reaction, and as a community leader, I knew that people would be turning to me for answers and some signs of hope and I just did not have any, so I withdrew and I went to the woods. I took a long walk through the woods listening to music, and it helped to focus my attention on the task ahead of all of us.
When I emerged from the woods, I had a new sense of purpose. I was renewed in my spirit and ready to take on the task that is ahead of me as a Christian, as a Pastor, and as an American, and that is resistance. I accept that Donald Trump will be the President of the United States, but I do not have to like it. Is he the legitimate President, sure he won the election, will his presidency have legitimacy, I do not believe so for the reasons I stated above, and I will resist with all of my power any legislation that marginalizes people.
One of the first things I read after I emerged from the woods was a Facebook post by the Conference Minister of the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ Rev. Kent Siladi. He wrote about the promises we make when we are ordained into the ministry. Although I serve a church in the United Church of Christ, I was not ordained in the UCC, so I did not have the opportunity to make these promises. So I took out my service book and looked them up, and there are two that caught my eye.
"Will you be zealous in maintaining both the truth of the gospel and the peace of the church, speaking the truth in love?"
"Will you seek to regard all people with equal love and concern and undertake to minister impartially to the needs of all?"
I am a progressive Christian and theologian, and as such, I have a certain biblical and word view. I believe that God is still speaking and still revealing himself in ways that we have yet to comprehend. I believe that the best way is to show love for those that Jesus taught love for, the improvised and the marginalized. I believe that we have to be the voice of those without a voice, but that we also have to show love and respect for those who disagree with us and that will be the challenge for me but one that we have to embrace.
One part of the church, namely evangelicals, got into bed with Donald Trump as a candidate and it is my belief that in the final analysis, it will burn them. All through history when the church has combined itself with politics it has turned out bad. The church needs to be the voice of opposition, and that opposition is more important today than it has ever been. But being that voice is no good if we compromise on the message of the Gospel to make that change come about and this is what I think has happened.
So where do we go from here? We become the opposition; we become the resistance. We love more, and we show respect for those we disagree with, and we become the burr under the saddle. Yes, Donald Trump is the President of the United States, and yes that makes him my president. I will pray for him, and when he is right I will say so, but when he is wrong, I will be right there to speak for those who have no voice.