Dear President Trump,
I don’t remember whether the hymn I’m going to tell you about from the service yesterday is the same one that prompted tears and comforting of tears, but it certainly might be. The hymn’s title is “God of Grace, God of Glory” and the lead line of the 5th verse is “Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore.” I don’t especially like the “save us” part and I really don’t like how the rest of the line goes on to implore God to swoop in and use their mighty magic to save the day. What I do like, though, is the reminder that weak resignation in the face of evils we deplore is to be avoided, that we need to not be like checked out frogs in pots of water with the temperature slowly rising to a boil or tutting-tutting to each other about how the latest outrage really isn’t so bad because it isn’t as bad as it might have been and besides, we are so tired of calling out and protesting what feels like everything. We have to find ways to stay engaged and strong in the face of your relentless efforts to pit us against one another and to undermine democracy in the service of enriching the rich.
I am concerned that some people will think we can turn this all over to God and we don’t need to fret too much about weak resignation because God won’t let that happen and really, God won’t let too much bad stuff happen. It seems to me, though, that if whoever wrote the song really thought there is a God who will just save us and we don’t have any work to do ourselves then s/he wouldn’t have bothered writing it because s/he would have to assume God has us covered. I think a God figure gets invoked, at least in part, because we don’t perceive ourselves to be strong enough to withstand deplorable evils on our own and we aren’t so sure we can count on one another. Thus, God becomes a handy sort of go-to who will come through if we discern their will properly (and if God doesn’t come through it’s because we haven’t discerned correctly, which is on us because God is infallible – a nifty tautology if there ever was one). And yet, I am very grateful to be reminded of the imperative to resist weak resignation in the face of evils I deplore.
May we be safe from weak, ultimately complicit resignation.
May we be happy to call out the evils we deplore as many times as it takes.
May we keep our selves and our communities healthy and strong for the long haul.
May we not lose sight of the prospect of peace here on earth where we actually live.