A Word from the Pastors | 1-06-2022

I think I was in second grade. Our class was going to have some sort of election, maybe for president of the class, sometime after recess. I so wanted to be that elected leader of our classroom! It’s not like I really understood what the duties of that position would include, if any. Nor did I have some sort of fervent commitment to the actual task. It was really about being personally recognized, honored, “first”. So I asked a friend during recess to nominate me.

Have you ever aspired to be recognized or honored in some way along your life’s journey? What was it that glimmered or sparkled in your mind’s eye?

I was nominated by the boy I had asked and the election was officially held between a girl and me. When the votes were counted, I had but one vote. The girl had all the other votes and was elected president of our classroom. I was crushed when the teacher announced the tally to everybody – both embarrassed and hurt. And, since I knew that I had personally voted for me, it didn’t take me long to ask the boy who had nominated me why he did not also vote for me. I thought I should at least have received his vote. Traitor!

Confronted, he shrugged. Then he said his truth, “Neil, I just thought that she would do a better job.” And then he walked away to continue the day and his life.

My ego was bruised that day, even if my second grade mind didn’t know that I had an ego. I guess I could have been bruised forever by that loss. I guess I could be infected with hurt and hate to this day. I guess I could claim all these years later that the girl who won maybe paid all the other kids off with pieces of candy. Or maybe I could insist that the teacher (What was her name?) was against me and announced her version of the vote. I could still, to this moment, insist that I actually won or should have won. I could denounce and even track down and threaten (Any of them still alive?) the teacher, the girl, the boy, the other kids, their descendants. I could maybe get a group of avengers and go attack the school building where it occurred (Let’s see, what was the name and location of my school? Is it still standing?).

When in your life was your ego bruised? How have you handled such situations? Were you able to eventually accept what had happened and to move on with your life, growing through it, perhaps experiencing healing or wisdom or strength?

Exactly one year ago today, a man with a bruised ego who had lost an election by 7 million popular votes, and also by the same electoral vote score that he had won in the previous election, continued to rant and rave… continued to insist that he had won and to bribe, threaten, and condemn all who would not jump in line behind him… and actually schemed toward and led a violent confrontation that was intended to upend American democracy and replace it with “MAGA Nation” all ruled by him. Above all, he wants to be recognized, honored, and victorious at any cost, even if it means the future of this nation, the lives of other people, the well-being of his political party, relationships with former friends and co-workers, or the respect and love of his own family members.

And a year later, our nation is still politically torn. Even Christian groups are polarized in their reactions, and reality seems to have been reduced to whatever I personally choose to think out of the many divergent options being offered on the media menu. Some people in our Congress can’t even admit to being scared as they hid and ran; and some friends and family won’t own up to their concerned pleas with Mr. Trump to stop the violence. Some are intimidated into claiming that nothing out of the ordinary occurred – “just a group of tourists looking at the statues”. And some are trying to “Stop the Steal” by setting up legislation to steal the votes of people that have the right to vote but might not be the right vote.  A year later, we are still sifting and sorting accountability for the January 6 Capitol insurrection that cost lives and almost broke our nation’s democratic process. A year later, the man with the bruised ego continues to rant and rave.

He may or may not be aware of the truth that he didn’t get re-elected. I don’t personally know the state of his mental health. But it does seem to me that he was well aware before the election on November 3, 2020 that he was losing his shine in our nation and therefore engaged in all sorts of speeches and tactics to prevent or prepare for his loss. Slowing up the U.S. postal system. Claiming, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, that mail-in ballots like my own were suspect and should not be counted. Encouraging his supporters to show up early and at the polling places to vote so that, before the election was over and all the ballots officially counted, he could boast of his overwhelming victory, almost like calling a sports contest over sometime in the third quarter with a lead in the score. Seeking to entice, bribe, and threaten even Republican vote counters into stealing the vote in his favor, then denouncing them when they did what was morally right and responsible. Engaging in legal appeals in state after state, all unsuccessfully, to find legitimate voter fraud that would get him the votes he lusted for. And then there was his January 6 planned coup, complete with a power point strategy presentation.

This man needs prayer. Our country needs prayer. Continue to work for peace in a world where violence seems to be the preferred option, and continue to stand for justice in an unfair and unequal world. Continue to think right, say right, do right, and be right. Find you light, your way, and your mission in the person, the message, and the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ.

South African Desmond Mpilo Tutu, an Anglican archbishop, died on December 26 at the age of 90 years. He was a mighty voice for liberation and justice in his own country and all over the world, fighting against apartheid and many other forms of oppression, fighting for LGBTQ rights, better care of our environment, etc.

We lit a candle in commemoration of Archbishop Tutu on Sunday, December 26 during our Zoom worship. His ego was not bruised. It was centered in Christ, on living faithfully and loving fervently.

A favorite Tutu quote:

Goodness is stronger than evil;

        Love is stronger than hate;

        Light is stronger than darkness;

Life is stronger than death;

Victory is ours through Him who loves us. 

 

Pastor Neil & Pastor Gwen 

Upcoming Events

Jun
19
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jun 19 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jun
23
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jun
30
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 30 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jul
3
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jul 3 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jul
5
Fri
2024
8:30 am Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Jul 5 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Check out the Senior Food Program’s page for more information.