Scott's Weekly Greeting ...
I should not have ... but I did. I clicked on a link to view a video of an altercation at a polling place today. There was no violence, but there was a threat. There was yelling, swearing, and name-calling. As my stomach began to churn, I stopped watching.
Every time that I have gone to the polls to vote (in person), there have been supporters for the various candidates standing holding signs, waving flags, and encouraging voters to support their candidate. It has been raucous at times, but never ugly. The little bit that I watched today was ugly.
The last few months have been difficult, to say the least. We have been assaulted. We have been inundated by political attack ads and buried under campaign mailers. We have been pestered by numerous phone calls no matter how often we try to block the callers. There have been hateful words and nasty rhetoric. People's lawn signs have been stolen, vandalized and destroyed. Family dinners have turned into carefully choreographed events in which we dance on eggshells. We drive through our communities with our heads on a swivel trying to see who we should hate this week.
The reality is that we have a long, and at times ugly, history when it comes to political divisiveness in our country. Across the generations, people have suffered and been victims of heinous attacks simply for supporting the other candidate or a different point of view. Every time that we find ourselves at a social or political crossroad, we experience the worst of humanity in our neighbors.
But we also experience the best.
The purveyors of violence and hatred do inflict great pain upon victims whose only crime was supporting a different point of view. They make a lot of noise and grab a lot of headlines, but thankfully they represent a very small percentage of the population. The counter-reaction to their hatred and violence is an out-pouring of love and compassion. The more hate that they try to sow results in even more love springing up.
Today is a day of consequence. The evening news will undoubtedly tell us about everything that went wrong today. Let us respond with grace. Let us respond with compassion and cooperation. Let us seek the way of love. It may not be easy, but loving our neighbors is our call. And let us not forget that Jesus also calls us to love our enemies ... even those who vote for the other candidate.
When we wake tomorrow morning, our neighbors will still be our neighbors. Let us flood the world with acts of loving kindness.
This week in worship, we will turn our attention to Jesus' call to do something. He wants us to be prepared, to be present, and to be active in the world. If he was to create a bumper sticker, it might say something like, "Don't just sit there, DO something!" Let us consider what that means in our lives. The Sunday school children will continue their unit on "Wilderness." And Jacqui and the First Parish virtual choir will offer beautiful music that will speak to our hearts and souls.
Congregational ChurchUCC, SACO MAINE12 BEACH STREET | SACO, ME 04072