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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Morning After

I am feeling so much more than can be said today. My heart aches. My mind drifts into despair. My emotions are frayed. I grasp to make meaning of what appears as an endorsement of fear and hatred. So I fall back on words from my sermon delivered this past Sunday in hope that I can hear them anew.

Irish poet Michael Longley is known for his prophetic voice during the height of conflict between Catholics and Protestants, the IRA and the British and all factions within Northern Ireland. One of his poems is called “All Of These People” 

Who was it who suggested that the opposite of war
Is not so much peace as civilization? He knew Our assassinated Catholic greengrocer who died At Christmas in the arms of our Methodist minister,And our ice-cream man whose continuing requiem Is the twenty-one flavors children have by heart. Our cobbler mends shoes for everybody; our butcher Blends into his best sausages leeks, garlic, honey;Our corner shop sells everything from bread to kindling. Who can bring peace to people who are not civilized? All of these people, alive or dead, are civilized.

Civilization is not a place void of conflict where everyone agrees all the time. It is however a place of shared human dignity where diversity is held together by hope, respect, compassion, mercy, justice, kindness, forgiveness, and love for all people. I have to believe this or else I succumb to darkness myself. I have to believe this or else my righteous anger devolves into hate.   

Love is the life we are called into. Love is the life we strive to live every day. May we have the grace and courage to do so.


  1. Thank you for expressing the emotions that I, too, am feeling this morning.

  2. Let us learn at last to not let our hopes- nor our fears- rest in the powers of empire. The gospel text for 11/13 offers a helpful entry into the mind of Christ as he lays out the inevitable outcomes obtained when faith is misplaced in worldly powers. "This will provide you an opportunity to testify." (Luke 21:13, CEB).

  3. Besides love, hope is the thing we cling to in these times of great confusion. The world seems to be whirling around and not finding a safe place to settle down. We do have Hope.