“be kind as well”

Dear President Trump,

At the outset of her sermon yesterday, our pastor said that it feels like the entire country is going through Lent together. It’s an odd thing to lay such a Christian construct on the entire populace, but I think I get where she’s coming from on this.

Lent is a strange time of waiting. Whoever came up with the idea of having a somber, self-sacrificing time during the 40 days before Easter knew the idea of resurrection was at the end of that time, that there was something life affirming to focus on at the end. This, however, wouldn’t have been true for Jesus. No matter how prescient he was he couldn’t have known exactly what was in store for him, he couldn’t have fully anticipated the cost of his radical ministry of inclusion. So in terms of the waiting aspect of Lent, I think we are currently coming at it more like Jesus did and not how the post-crucifixion masses have come at it over the ages. We are waiting to see what happens with the Russia investigation and the midterm elections. We are waiting to see if you are going to go further off the deep end and declare war on North Korea or if we are starting another dark Cold War with Russia. We are waiting to see how fast the Arctic is going to melt and what the next round of big storms is going to do to the world.

Easter is April 1st this year, which actually feels pretty darn appropriate. It helps underscore that all this waiting we are doing doesn’t have a clear happy ending with dyed eggs, hidden candy, and the promise of life everlasting. This is much more like real Lenten waiting with all its dread, uncertainty, and temptation.

So where’s the good news here? I’m really not sure, but I don’t want to leave it that we are all just fools waiting to be rewarded with divine intervention if we just sit tight and resist temptation. There’s no guarantee that things will turn out ok, but I think Ann Bauer was right when she said in her WP essay this morning “Be angry if you must, but be kind as well. The two are not mutually exclusive. Contribute a little joy to the world. It’s the only way I see out of this chaos we’re in.” After all, we don’t really have anything better to do while we wait.

May we keep ourselves safe from toxic anger.
May we know that feeling some joy actually helps matters.
May we keep ourselves healthy and sane for the long haul.
May we know that practicing kindness is a radical act not to be taken lightly.

Tracy Simpson

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