“And Let it Begin With Me”

By Robbie Joern (JONAH Board Member – Spirit Lutheran)

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have been worried about our beloved democracy staying intact. But I have some hope that it might still be possible.

Whatever lies ahead for America, the reality is it will take all the wisdom the churches and organizations like WISDOM, JONAH, etc. have, and a whole lot more, to keep working toward the beloved community.

There will still be homelessness, hunger, racial division, economic uncertainty, and a climate that is fast unraveling. In some cases, like climate change, scientists have worked for years on what is wrong and what needs to be changed. In large part, what we need to do has already been solved and, in some cases, implemented. The power industries see the necessity of supporting alternative energy sources and have purchased the patents of most, if not all of them. Even the unlikely patents were bought out, because the power industry knows all too well, that even a glimmer of insight could change the energy course.

But a global pandemic?  That will take more of a change of heart than head. We have amazing role models, who risk their own lives to nurse others. The ones who faithfully went to work when the virus was more unknown and lacked safe attire were the real giants. They know the risk they were taking all too well, but went forward nonetheless. They are the ones who should never be forgotten and, of course, all the rest.

As we continue our work, we must also ask ourselves how we can work with others who we think see the world far differently from us? How can we be gracious in our ‘winning’ and ‘losing’? Our leaders must be willing to listen to the “other”. We must all learn how to work with folks across the aisle as both an individual and a group.

Can we grant forgiveness to those that angered us this past year?

I think God’s expectation is that we do; and I think this is an amazingly difficult task. Recently, on CBS, reporters were talking about people who confessed they had cut off friendships with several people; people they worked with and even close family members. Of course, we already know all this, but at this time in our nation’s history, all issues seem to be black or white. I believe if I begin with the “gray” stuff, I might learn how to take a stance in my faith when encountering what I perceive to be evil. Maybe they aren’t evil, but ones who see far differently from me, because their reality is far different from mine. My position needs to be in seeing the divinity within everyone. And, yes, all of us need forgiveness. How do we do that?

When we say JONAH is non-partisan, I feel like I need to review what that means and what it implies as we go forward. Today is a far different universe from the one when the campaign began.  What comes next is in our hands to mold.  

May we all stay healthy, forgiving, innovative, eager to listen to others, gracious and kind.

May it also start with me!

(I think I’m singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth” in my head!)

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let There Be Peace on Earth
The peace that was meant to be
With God as our Father
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment and live
Each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
– Songwriters: Jill Jackson / Sy Miller