So that happened.
After what is possibly the most divisive election in modern American history, the Christian family finds itself in the same boat as many families around the country: an awkward gathering around the table for the Sunday meal.
Some of us feel like we lost. Some of us feel like we won. Some of us feel like nobody won.
If you feel like you lost, and are angry at the other side, keep in mind you’d probably feel differently if you’d won. You’d be less afraid, and therefore less angry, and therefore in a more forgiving mood even though your opponents did nothing differently. Also consider the possibility that had you won, the other side would be experiencing its own fears right now. It doesn’t matter whether you believe those fears are justified; fear is not always best addressed through reason, but through compassion. Remember this moment, so that when the pendulum swings and you are no longer afraid, you will understand your opponents’ fear, and be merciful in victory.
If you feel like you won, remember that Christ teaches us having the upper hand is a burden, not a privilege. Listen to the concerns of the losing side without dismissing or mocking them. Keep in mind that had you lost, your side honestly wouldn’t behave much differently. If you snorted at that last sentence, revisit history; you won’t have to go back far. For Christians, power is not a mandate to exercise control, but a call to service. If the first are last and the last are first, you are now walking a golden tightrope. Christ calls us to do good to our enemies; that includes the ones we’ve defeated.
If you feel like nobody won, consider that you may be called to the role of peacemaker. Perhaps rather than expressing disappointment all around, promote work in areas where all Christians should agree. Visiting the sick and homebound is not a political issue. Feeding the hungry is not a political issue. Comforting those who grieve is not a political issue. Where you can, encourage those who are – for the present time – emotionally estranged to find common ground.
Christ’s table is not a political issue. We meet here because we need him the most in times like these. Come to the table willingly, and break bread with all members of the family because Christ has invited them, too. If Jesus didn’t turn away Judas, we have no excuse to turn away from each other. Sharing a meal, especially this divine one, is the both the most holy and common ground we will find.
May the Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.