Posted by: jaimemwsanders | November 3, 2020

Election and the Beatitudes

As I write this, it is Election Day in the United States of America. Election Day when our society is more polarized than it has been in my lifetime. Former friends have stopped speaking because they are supporting different candidates. If we were able to gather families for Thanksgiving – which we can’t because of the pandemic – the gatherings would likely be sorted by politics.

At some point, please God, we will have an outcome of the election. Where do we go from there?

Unlike a married couple, a country cannot get a divorce. The people who supported the person whom I vote against are not going to disappear. My belief that they are wrong is not going to disappear either.

I know that Jesus tells me to love my neighbor. Even to love my enemies. But the simple command doesn’t make it so. I need some mental scaffolding to get from a place of opposition to a place of love.

This is the context in which I read the Beatitudes for All Saints Day. “Blessed are the meek.” What does “meek” mean? I think it means humility in recognizing our own and other’s complexity, imperfections, and imperfect knowledge. In suppressing the “inner two-year-old” that has illusions of omnipotence, and appreciating our “self” as a part of an interconnected web. An interconnected web which, because it is sustained by and emanates from God, is a web of love and blessing.

The farmer whose John Birch society signs in his fields I find so offensive, might also have raised the wheat that becomes the flour that I buy to make bread during the pandemic. The young man wearing the anarchist tee-shirt at a street protest, whom you might find scary, might be the person who repairs your laptop when it is broken. We depend on each other.

And we are multidimensional, shaped by our diverse and random experiences. If my life had been that of that farmer, I might share his political views. If my life had been that of the young protester, I might be on the streets also. Each of us has a partial view of the truth, and find grace where we can. God’s love and grace is blocked by human constructs of sin, and finds its way to us in circuitous paths and refracted into light of different colors.

Blessed are the meek, who understand themselves to be finite parts of an interconnected web of grace.

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