The election is over; now we start on the days to come

Throughout the day I have been logging into my Facebook page and generally checking in with everyone I connect with on social media for their reactions and responses to the surprising results of the election. I do not chose/use the word “surprise” as my own description but as it was described by others. For some it was a pleasant surprise and for some it was not. Amongst the circle of people I connect with through social media and face to face, the majority feel it was not a pleasant surprise but something they feared and continue to fear. And is so often the case, when one fears, one lashes out. And I have heard/read a lot of lashing out. But I have also read/heard voices of hope and determination to make the best of it and work towards compassion, acceptance and unity.  And that is good.

But . . . but . . . these voices of hope and determination also tell me there is great pain and fear underneath. That they have not turned to anger but love and caring is a good and positive thing. It still, however, speaks and indicates the presence of pain and fear.

I have written a time or two about fear and that God does not call us to a life of fear. Not that the Divine does not acknowledge that we fear, but that the Divine does not wish us to live in fear, but in hope and courage. And not because we fear, are afraid and act out of fear but that we banish fear and replace it with trust in God/the Divine.

This is not the first time the nation, individually or as a group, has feared for itself and others. And without being a pessimist or doomsayer, it will not be the last. We, as a nation have lived in fear and through fear. Fear may be out hope, determination and courage – but it does not always bring out the “best” of us. That is what I hope in the days, weeks and months to come we can do – bring out the best of ourselves and bring out the best in others. We can do that by not letting our fear spread and multiply; no, our fear must be set aside in favor of traits that lead to care, compassion, acceptance, understanding, and unity.

This is not “new” exhortations or encouragements. In fact, this sort of encouragement is pretty biblical. I do not have any bible verses to back this up, and these are not reflections that come from the Revised Common Lectionary. Indeed they are kind of extemporaneous in nature. But written from the heart. And these are comments not just from a national perspective, but global. While this election took place and directly impacts the United States, the U.S. is part of the global community and what happens has impact in other parts of the world. The days, weeks, and months to come will be played out against the backdrop of the global community, and the global community will also impact us.

Living in the United States but being a Canadian citizen means I did not have a part in the election process but I still live in the outcome of the election. It has been a interesting position to be in. I feel both a part of the global community and a resident of the United States – not having a voice but still being a presence. In other words, my opinion did not and does not much matter. So I have not shared much as to what I have felt inside.

What I hope has come across is hope in the Divine, and a desire to see love, compassion, caring and peace spread to all people. In the grand scheme of things, a very simple desire. It is my hope and pray that those traits are what fill our nation and the global community. And I hope and pray, beloved reader, that is your desire too. Selah!

 

TO THOSE WHO BRING RUIN THROUGH COMMERCE

“Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the Sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale?” (Amos 8:4-5a from Amos 8: 4-14 )

When I was a much younger age, and the world a more peaceful place, stores were not open on Sundays. I was surprised to learn that any store was open on a Sunday, but apparently there was a store in the city next to our small town that had a store open. And as I grew older, more stores started Sunday hours, until today when few if any stores are closed on Sundays.

It used to be that Sundays were for family and relaxed times; no one thought about needing to buy anything or shop for anything because Sunday was not a day for thinking about what one needed but a day to celebrate what one had. We had God, family and friends – what more did we need?

The title of this posting is not to suggest that merchants have brought about ruin because stores are open Sundays. It is more comment on how our perception of Sunday is about that has changed. Acquisition is now seen as a way to relax and unwind. So busy are our other days that Sunday is the only day we have to “hunt and gather” what we need for the week. I admit I am as guilty of it as anyone else. But I still remember the Sundays of my youth – church, colored comics, Sunday dinner, relaxing whiling away the afternoon, Sunday night savoring the last few hours of the weekend until Monday morning comes with all of its hustle and bustle for the week. Now the “hustle and bustle” continues unabated 7 days a week month in and month out. No wonder I get tired.

This is not a plea for the return of “Sabbath time” either, though it could be. It is simply a statement that says it was good when there was one day each week that had no commerce in it; that all things in life for that one day were free and freely given.

May you gentle reader find oasis times in your days and weeks when your thoughts are not littered with dollar signs and electronic payments. Selah! And “priceless shalom” for your day!