Comments beginning worship at UUCA on Nov. 13, 2016

Before we do anything else, we need to name what’s in the room.
Shock, bewilderment, numbness, anger, fear, tears.
Pretty much all the predictions and pundits, from left to right, were wrong.
Wednesday morning we woke up to a world that had become suddenly strange.
Unbearably so.

That’s part of the pain.
How could so many of us have been so oblivious to the depth of the rage in our country?
How could 117 million Americans—that’s 48% of the population—not have voted?
How could so many of your family and friends have voted for someone whose hatred targets people they love: you?
How could all of this have happened?

You might have voted for Trump and you are amazed at the response you’re getting.
You are one of the ones enraged by business-as-usual Washington.
That’s all that your vote was about.
You are sick and tired of being invisible.
You voted for him because you thought he’d truly be Mr. Smith-goes-to-Washington and reboot the whole broken thing.
So you are amazed people are calling you a bigot, a racist, a xenophobe.
You can’t believe it!

Then there’s those who voted for Clinton and you are amazed, too, at the depth of your grief.
You proudly wore your pantsuit down to the polling station.
Some men actually wore high heels on their way to vote.
Finally the highest glass ceiling was going to be shattered.
It didn’t happen.
Don’t tell me to immediately get busy working against hate.
I need to grieve.

If you are a Muslim, an immigrant, a Mexican, an African American, a person who’s gay or trans, or someone else who’s already punch drunk from the abuse you regularly receive, but now that businessman then candidate then Republican nominee Donald Trump has become President-Elect Donald Trump, you are truly, truly afraid.
What happens next?
We’re hearing reports of backlash against diversity specifically in Donald Trump’s name.
We’re also hearing that some of the reports are falsified, or just jokes, and it is appallingly insensitive in this incendiary time.
Hatred powered Trump’s race: racism, xenophobia, misogyny, anti-LGBTQ….
Now that he’s President-elect, what’s next?

That’s the problem—we don’t know….
President Trump may be very different from Candidate Trump, who pulled whatever trigger he needed to, to win.
But we don’t know.
We are drinking from the firehose of Facebook posts and articles and other sources of news, trying to manage our not-knowing.
We are holding our breath.
An unbearable uncertainty.

From so many different places, feeling so many different things, we have come, we are here.
And this is the place to bring it.
We brought our pain here when 9/11 happened, standing room only.
We brought our joy here when same-sex marriage became legal.
If there’s any place to bring our hopes and fears, it’s here.
That’s what Beloved Communities are for.

I love you. I want you to know that.
And I promise you that love and hope will help us find a way through.
We’ll find a way together.
What happened Tuesday night just cut through the noise of life and exposed what is fundamental and precious and what will sustain us and give us hope now and into the future: our Unitarian Universalist faith. Our Unitarian Universalist community.

After the Brexit vote, allies in the United Kingdom began wearing safety pins to show solidarity with immigrants and to protest racism.
Today I invite you to wear the safety pin too—a small symbol admittedly but with big meaning—to help us remember for ourselves and to show to others that the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta is a safe harbor in a time of conflict, that we will not stand for hate in our communities, and that we recognize the inherent dignity and worth of every living being.

Take a moment and find the safety pin taped to your order of service (it’s on bottom of the front page).
Pin that thing on you.
I’ll have a basket of extra pins available after worship, so if you didn’t get an order of service or you are wanting additional pins, come see me in the receiving line as you’re leaving the sanctuary…

safety_pin2

This is who we are.
This is who we will be.
Do not be daunted by the enormity of the grief.
We will grieve, and then we will work.
We will not panic, we will watch carefully, we will respond strategically.
We will know that we can’t solve everything.
But we will do the work that is ours to do.
We will do justly.
We will love mercy,
We will bend the arc of justice towards the earth, however long that takes.
We will.
We will.

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