I wrote this letter to my congregation yesterday with only them in mind, but then thought I’d post here in case any others wanted to read.
There’s a scene in Hoosiers (maybe a future pastor will quote different movies) where the team from tiny, rural Hickory High scopes out the giant and intimidating basketball stadium where they’ll play the state championship game:
Coach Dale: Buddy, hold this [tape measure] under the backboard. [They measure from free throw line to underneath backboard.] What is it?
Buddy: 15 feet.
Coach: 15 feet!
Coach: Strap, put Ollie on your shoulders. Measure this from the rim [hands them tape measure; they measure from rim to floor]. Buddy… how far?
Buddy: 10 feet.
Coach: 10 feet!
Coach: I think you’ll find it’s the exact same measurements as our gym back at Hickory.
Coach: Okay, let’s get dressed for practice.
I was happy this morning at home to see our coffeemaker had reliably brewed the coffee. The sun had risen. Another day was here.
Sufficiently wired from yet more coffee and a breakfast at Friendly’s with a friend and mentor, I went to the church with that Hoosiers clip in mind. The office was still there. The sanctuary is just as we left it Sunday: fresh candles at the altar, a cross, pews where God has been praised for over 100 years, a stack of chord charts for the band in the first pew. All the measurements and implements were the same.
Today I know that even while some rejoice, or reluctantly greet the election results as the best available option, many in our country are mourning, confused, and frustrated.
However you feel, this is a good day to take care of yourself, and for us to take care of our loved ones and each other. Be liberal with hugs!
I stand by what I preached Sunday, which I preach again now to myself, if you’d like to listen in:
Whatever happens on Tuesday, whatever rebuilding is ahead of us, our country right now needs more of God’s presence. We little temples need to get to work in bringing the holiness of God, the power of God, the joy of God, and the goodness of God to would-be worshipers. I truly believe we can hear the same words spoken to Esther that we cannot remain silent “at such a time as this.” Maybe also like Esther, we have come to our position—as bearers of God’s presence—for such a time as this.
“Do not fear,” God says, “for I am with you.”
Might this be a kairos moment for the church? We have much soul-searching, rebuilding and national identity negotiation ahead of us. What would it look like if the church somehow took up the mantle and led the way? What if we re-doubled our efforts to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God? (Micah 6:8) What if we re-committed ourselves to the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Scripture reading, corporate repentance, and social action?
If that kind of talk feels overly moralizing or too soon for you, I hope you feel free to take your time and feel what you need to feel right now.
If you would find it helpful, I’m available to talk and to pray these next few days—just text or call ahead to make sure I haven’t stepped out of the office for a bit. Not claiming to have any answers or great political insights—but I would love to listen and pray with anyone who wants to. (To blog readers: you can contact me here.)
If the full vision of God’s shalom “seems to tarry,” Habakkuk said, “wait for it.” And, empowered by the Lord, he would also have us work for it: “The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”
Peace and hope,