Meditations for Nov. 2nd
Otherwise known as All Souls’ Day. And, in America, the Sunday before the election. And in Mormon America, the Last Chance to Bear You Testimony before Election Day. Since testimony meetings are supposed to focus on the Savior, and since you won’t be able to speak broadly about politics on Sunday, here’s your chance to share some of those thoughts.
Consider answering these questions:
1 – What are you thankful for this election season?
2 – What will you be doing to reach out in a Christ-like way to folks “on the other side”?
3 – How will you make others feel welcome at Christ’s table (after all, he’s invited everyone to join him)? How can others make you feel welcome?
Since I’m “conducting the meeting,” I’ll start:
My heart is touched and lifted today by the hymn, sung around the world at this time of the year, “For All the Saints,” particularly verses 1, 3 and 4, which I’ll share here:
For all the Saints who from their labors rest,
Who thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blessed. Alleluia.
Thou art our rock, our fortress, and our might;
Thou, Lord, our captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, our one true light. Alleluia.
And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong. Alleluia.
Normally, I really don’t appreciate hymns with battle images in them, but the image of Light in darkness drear strengthening arms and hearts is an image I can relate to in this tumultuous time. I have truly appreciated so many readers’ thoughtful, insightful comments and am grateful that we have been able to create a relatively settled spot on the ‘net where respect generally outweighs criticism, fear and even hate.
I am deeply saddened by so many comments I’ve seen that haven’t made it through the moderation process, and my heart aches for so many of you who have faced and continue to face the strident, bitter, caustic, pharisaical, even bigoted people on both sides of this issue. I hope and pray that nobody has to put up with that kind of mudslinging face-to-face in real life.
Still, I am thankful for many things:
- I am thankful I live in a country where political power passes relatively peacefully over the years
- I am thankful I have enough food, shelter and security to be able to spend my time worrying about things like other people’s marital status
- I am thankful I’ve heard from and seen examples of people trying to follow The Golden Rule, regardless of political persuasion, religion or lack thereof
- I am thankful for people who stand up for what they believe in and put their money, time and actions where their mouths are and do it with integrity
- I am thankful for everyone who has sacrificed so much to make the world a better place for my children, especially my eldest son who will be turning three on Sunday (he invites you all to share his cake with him after church)
- I am thankful that these tough issues don’t come up more often
- I am thankful that I learned at a very young age that the Good News is that there is a place for everyone and that unconditional love is only a breath away.
- I am thankful that there are people in my life who are Embodiments of Love, always ready to lend a listening ear, a helpful hand, a shoulder to cry on and a heart to rejoice with.
- I am thankful my mother got me hooked on Peter, Paul & Mary at a young age, so now there’s always a song appropriate to the political cause at hand:
- “Don’t laugh at me, don’t call me names / Don’t get your pleasure from my pain/ In God’s eyes, we’re all the same / Some day we’ll all have perfect wings / Don’t laugh at me”
- “Have you been to jail for justice? I want to shake your hand / ‘Cause sitting in and lying down are ways to take a stand / Have you sung the song of freedom / or walked that picket line? If you’ve been to jail for justice, then you’re a friend of mine….The laws are made by people, but people can be wrong / We must be ever-vigilant for justice to prevail”
- “If there’s any hope for love at all, some walls must fall”
What will I do to heal the rifts among my friends and acquaintances? I don’t know, I’m still figuring that out. At the very least, I will refrain from gloating or mourning in front of them and I will continue to sit together with them in church, sing with them in the choir, invite their children over for playdates, and find ways to make it easier for them to feel welcome in my life. I will draw a circle that includes them.