Brothers and sisters in Christ; like many of you, I continue to reflect and pray deeply for our nation and world in this time of political transition. In these prayers the words of the prophet Micah stir in my spirit; “He has shown, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
With any change of leadership, there comes a sense of anxiety. What keeps me centered and non-anxious is the simple truth that in Jesus Christ, God’s final word of hope, love, peace and justice are ultimately spoken. With this knowledge and assurance, it is imperative that we let go of our fear and anxiety, and in bold, courageous ways live life together rightly and well. It is my prayer that there is a willingness in our hearts, minds and soul to let go of hatred and strife and live into God’s desired future of reconciliation, restorative justice and shalom for all creation.
However, before kingdoms change, people must change. In the days ahead, it will be those ordinary, small and seemingly insignificant acts of random kindness, peace, love and justice done in the name of Jesus Christ that will heal us. We fold our hands in prayer for all our leaders, both outgoing and newly elected, that they might lead with the words of Micah 6:8 in their hearts and souls.
Recently, during a Council of Bishops gathering, I, along with the entire Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church, signed a Bible for the new president without ever knowing who that would be. It was one of the most humbling things I’ve ever done. Regardless of what I thought or felt about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, one of them was going to receive a Bible that I’d signed. It was a moment of true grace, a grace that I believe will be sufficient even in these times of transition. Therefore, it is my prayer that both we and our new president-elect will find in that Word guidance for the journey.
Tomorrows will continue to come, and what we as a people of God choose to do with those tomorrows will determine what the world and our nation will look and live like. We must refuse to allow evil to control us. We must be determined not to be held in the bondage of hate and fear any longer.
When it appears that the Good Fridays of life will consume us in their grip of oppression, depression, grief, anger, hurt or violence, may we together model the prayer of the African American mystic Howard Thurman; “Lord open unto me (us) light for our darkness, courage for my (our) fear, hope for my (our) despair, peace for my (our) turmoil, strength for my (our) weakness, love for my (our) hates.” -Howard Thurman