November 9, 2016
Dear Cathedral Community and Friends,
As many of you know my undergraduate education was as an economist. Statistics are no stranger to me. As I write this, statistics indicate that nationally, and as a state, I am writing to an audience equally divided over the outcome of the presidential election. If I were to consider solely Wayne County, or Detroit, the city where the Cathedral is located, I am writing to a people who are statistically more disappointed with the outcome. The thing is, I’m not writing to or about statistics, I am writing to you.
As I have reflected, through sleepless hours of the night, I have come to a place of understanding this election as a referendum on fear. Three elements, which I hold as truths, emerge from this for me. First, the source of fear for one person, or community, is not necessarily the source of another’s. Second, I do not get to define the fear a person or community is experiencing, nor do I get to discount, dismiss, or judge it. Third, your fears, my fears, the community’s fears, may have been heightened or lessened by any number of the recent electoral decisions.
As light began to overcome the mist of the morning today, I became aware of other truths that existed yesterday, exist today, and will exist tomorrow. I, along with my sisters and brothers who are marked as Christ’s own forever, have vowed to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving neighbor as self. That vow is not dependent upon, or conditional on, anything else. The work that we had to do yesterday: to minister to the hurting, hungry, marginalized, broken, terrified, and disenfranchised, along with the healed, hopeful, joyful and loved; and to share the loving, liberating, life-giving way of Jesus, is still the work we have to do today and tomorrow. (And, there is plenty of it to do.)
To our sisters and brothers who are feeling lost, dismayed, and dismissed, whatever the genesis, our holy writings offer this invitation from Jesus, “Come to me all you who travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.” (Matthew 11:28)
As I conclude, I take counsel from an almost lost verse that concludes Luke’s telling of the healing of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19): “… your faith has made you well.” It will not be any government, any society, or any societal decision, that makes us well. That comes from the increasing awareness that God is our constant companion through Eden-like gardens and through valleys of shadow. Emergent from these journeys, we claim, even cling to, faith that sees us through; that makes us well.
Your priest and your brother,