Last night, some of us met in the Chapel to pray Evening Prayer together, in light of election results that many in our community find very hard to bear. We sang hymns, prayed in the ancient way of the Church, and added our own prayers. This long election season has been exhausting, and has left many of us, especially women, people of color, LGBTQ folk, immigrants, and Muslims (and those of us who may not be in those groups, but care deeply about people who are) feeling threatened, deeply anxious, and attacked. It was good to pray together, to be together, to hear words of Scripture that remind us that times of distressing political and societal change are nothing new, and that God is with us through it all.
Last spring, a bunch of us from Grace marched in the Boston Pride parade, and I carried a sign that said “God Welcomes All.” I had no idea that my sign would be cheered the whole way down the parade route, people waving and pointing to me and giving me the thumbs up, sometimes even leaving the sidelines to come up to tell me in person how much it meant to them that a minister and a church were bringing this message to the LGBTQ community. The Pride Parade reminded me that the Good News is still news. And how much more has this election reminded me—God Welcomes All is a radical statement. Jesus was not ambiguous in his teaching on the dignity and equality of outsiders, on love and respect for all people, or on where the unchecked desire for wealth and power leads.
On Sunday, we will celebrate St. Andrew’s Day, our patronal feast. For many of us, our celebration will be tempered by sadness and deep anxiety about the future of our country. But we can gather to celebrate the values that we share, that our parish has lived out for a long time: the sharing of leadership; the embrace of diversity and difference; concern and care for those who are struggling; the importance of stewarding the world God has given us; the sense of faith as a mystery and a journey rather than a test of who’s in and who’s out. We can celebrate the presence of Christ among us, in the bread and wine, and in our relationships, our service, our learning together.
On Sunday we will also offer our pledge cards to be blessed, as a sign of our commitment to supporting our parish financially. To me, this year my pledge card feels like more than just a sign that I support Grace’s annual budget. It feels like a tangible local investment in the kind of values that I want to encourage across this land: kindness, caring, respect for rich and poor alike, working for racial reconciliation and an end to sexism, welcoming the immigrant and the stranger, and all in Jesus’ name. I hope you will join me on Sunday, in celebrating what we have at Grace, and also in recommitting ourselves to following Jesus in the world. Take good care this week, and don’t forget to lean on the One who will never leave or forsake us.