Faith, Friendship, Marriage Equality, Politics

My Cup of Hope

Light Princess came downstairs this morning as the kitchen counter TV, tuned to the news, blared a commercial with Christmas music.

Offended, she exclaimed, "It's not even Thanksgiving yet!"

I agreed. "I got a Christmas cup at Starbucks yesterday."

I prepared for her disgust, but instead she smiled.

"Well, they sort of put me in a good mood, so I guess it's okay."

And it was true, that on a morning when I felt discouraged, my first response to a Christmas cup was to cry out, "No! It's barely November!!" But then I noticed the words on the cup, which include "Wish" and "Joy."

And the first one I saw was "Hope."

Some of us might be about up to here with the idea of hope. We hoped and hoped all last year, and we rejoiced on Election Night, but on the other side of the country, people felt then the way my friends and I feel now.

It's possible that word got to bound up with a human being, one who doesn't share my position on the issue of marriage. I mean, he really, really doesn't. 

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. (Psalm 146:3, NRSV) 

I don't like thinking of this verse in reference to a President for whom I voted. It felt like a *great* verse six years ago, when we were going to war and the colleagues in my preaching group were still trying to figure out how to talk about it in a sermon. He even acted like a prince, that President–in my opinion–but I see how inclined we are to make them into princes, all of them, even if only the ones we prefer. Princes or fools or mustachioed villains, however we dress them in our minds, do not put your trust in them. They cannot manifest our hopes single-handed. They may not share them. They may not even care about them.

We've got to find our hope in other places. 

I start with my kids. They are 23 and 19 and 14, and two of them voted, and all of them are angry. They're learning a hard lesson that other Christian people did not hear the gospel the same way they heard it in this house and in the churches that formed them. It makes no sense.

LP will go tonight to the big GSA meeting where LGBT students and their straight allies from many schools will gather to unpack what has happened.

For my No on 1-voting neighbors and the onlookers from away who don't reckon these things from a faith perspective, it's almost easier. They can shut out the religious voices, or try to, and make plans for the next campaign. They don't have to figure out a way to talk to the ecumenical colleagues at the next community event or clergy group meeting.

My friend, RevFun, went to see a priest yesterday. God, he's brave. He's braver than I am. He wanted to tell a priest how this felt and why it was wrong.

I know the priest he went to see, not as well. I've met him once. I wonder if he felt equipped to have the conversation. I wonder if any of them do.

My friend E wrote a beautiful reflection on the power of the widow who gave her mite, and another E wrote he would "watch the sun come up tomorrow, and go back to work repairing the world. Who's in?"and my musical colleague J used Facebook to share his feelings about how this experience led to deeper self-acceptance and my friend B simply said in a status update, "B W is not going away…"

We are all in some way part of the United Church of Christ, and we are motivated by our understanding of the gospel message that we are to love God with all our hearts and all our souls and all our minds and our neighbors as ourselves. Make no mistake about it.

That's my cup of hope this morning. I put no faith in princes, but in the next generation and in the people of God, who are not going away.

12 thoughts on “My Cup of Hope”

  1. This morning I was making breakfast as the year’s first snowfall softly transformed the landscape into something strangely new and beautiful. Standing there at the stove with the sizzle of bacon and fresh-from-the henhouse eggs, with “We All–Every One of Us” on the record player, I couldn’t help myself. I turned to my partner, who was looking up used books (Spong!) online to buy for her approaching birthday. “It feels like Christmas…” I said.
    I am usually an absolute grinch about pre-Advent Christmas trappings, but it’s all suddenly different. In the Celtic Calendar, we’re just celebrating our New Year. For the last 36 hours or so, we’ve been wrestling with the Maine vote, but my partner and I have also received the most glorious outpouring of solidarity and support…the result of this confluence is that it really does feel like Advent all of the sudden. Change is coming, and “the Spirit is a-movin’ all over this land.”

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  2. Thanks for the post and all the comments, especially MaineCelt’s. I’m hearing so much disappointment from friends and family all over the country (and really, Minnesotans have no standing to complain!) and it would be easy to get depressed. The snow helped a little although it’s disappearing into sleet or something now. I started playing a little Irish Christmas music (snow rules) and now it’s moved on to the Chieftains (not-Christmas). And the young people do give me hope.

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  3. I love what Sally’s Journey loved…
    in the next generation, and in the people of God–
    who are not going away.
    AMEN, preacher…amen.
    and blessings on revfun.

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  4. I too have much hope in the next generation. I am so impressed by the thoughts of your children. As Jesus said, “And a child shall lead them.”

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  5. It has taken me a while to read this, because it’s just hard and painful right now. But I am so, so grateful to you for this reflection… and this psalm, by the way, which was the lectionary psalm and which I used the day I was ordained six years ago. So, so grateful, to you and to our children and to all who hunger for justice and who are not going away.

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  6. This is (another) great post. Thanks for the words of hope. The irony of the this year/last year contrast hit me yesterday,and it is disheartening.

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