Confession: I got caught up in the horrendous political whirlwind of backbiting, cruelty and straight-up demonizing. My heart got ugly. Judgmental. My hope was temporarily misplaced.
I am burdened by the gravity of this election and what it means for the marginalized communities that make our country so incredibly beautiful. When you live in a vibrantly diverse neighborhood, it’s hard not to be burdened.
I am burdened because I’m an auntie to so many precious nieces and “honorary” nieces and the things that have been said about women from our new president are entirely atrocious. I am burdened because I’m an auntie to so many young nephews and “honorary” nephews and the example of leadership that is set before them is not what I hope for them.
Yeah, I got caught up. And I wasn’t pretty about it either.
But this morning, I got caught up in a different story. A story of hope, solidarity, victory and love.
Two disciples were walking to Emmaus, talking about everything that had happened. The man they hoped was the one to redeem Israel was just crucified. Their hope was demolished. Their hearts downcast. Slowly, they walked the long 7 miles back home.
As they walked, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad.
The two disciples proceeded to tell the man everything about Jesus of Nazareth who was just condemned to death and crucified. They told the man of their hope that they once carried – a hope placed in this Jesus of Nazareth, that he may be the one to restore their broken land. They expressed their deep longing to believe in something more powerful than the fallen political system that wounded their people.
And Jesus listened. He drew near to the two disciples, in the midst of their hopelessness, and he listened. He walked with them in their pain. He granted space for their grief and confusion.
After providing a sacred space for grief, and only after, did Jesus then proceed to tell the disciples of the story. The story that is larger than this one event that crushed their hope. Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself. And in doing so, Jesus lifted their downcast spirit and their hearts were burning.
Burning with hope.
This is the story for the people today. For the people who are hurting the most on this day, the morning after the election, this is a story for you. For my Muslim neighbors, this is the story for you. For my LGBTQ neighbors, this is a story for you. For my nieces and nephews, this is a story for you. For the church, this is a story for you.
I believe this story from the Gospel of Luke is an invitation for the church to rise and shine. The way of Jesus was (and is), undoubtedly political. But it was a politic of his kingdom rather than that of the Roman empire. I believe the politics of Jesus demands us to stand in solidarity with those of downcast hearts – to walk with one another through pain and hopelessness. The politics of Jesus reminds us that there is a different story. The systems of this world will fail us, but the one who causes our hearts to burn is the one who is our hope.
On this day, the morning after everything that had happened, may we the church rise and shine in bearing witness to a kingdom of hope, solidarity, victory and love.