Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ephesians 4:17-32

Today is election day. Regardless of whatever our political persuasions may be, we can all agree that this is one of the biggest days in our country’s history. An African-American is taking the oath of office to become our 44th president. Wow. Honestly, I didn’t think this day would come – I didn’t think he’d win. Call me pessimistic, but however charismatic Mr. Obama is, I didn’t think our country would elect a black man. I so very much wanted to see this day in my lifetime, but honestly didn’t expect it. But this election has given me hope that our American society can actually change – not change in the sense that we voted for “change” as Mr. Obama’s campaign promised, but somehow we ourselves could change – our prejudices, our habits, and all the old ways that we’ve lived for so long that we have been loathe to rid ourselves of. And, yet, it has happened. Overwhelmingly people are supporting Barack Obama and have renewed hope and the American spirit.

By accident, I was in Baltimore last weekend when Mr. Obama’s “Whistle stop” train came through. My family had gone to the Baltimore aquarium and we had no idea anything else was going on in the city that day – we had intentionally stayed out of DC as to avoid traffic! When we came out of the Aquarium which is in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore we saw CNN set up and down the street about 2 blocks away, we could see the celebration and the people gathered. It was too cold (about 17 degrees) for us to join them, but the crowd was enormous and made up of every kind of person – white, black, Hispanic, avian, and I’m sure all faiths and cultural backgrounds were present. We saw many pour into a restaurant in which we were eating about an hour later. Everyone was in a good mood, hopeful, joyful even. Even those who had supported Mr. McCain (a great American) in the election are now expressing their hope for the American future because of Mr. Obama’s election.

All this having been said, one thing that Mr. Obama has said time and time again, is that the change we are all looking for is not going to happen quickly – it will take time. It will not be easy, there are difficult decisions to be made and difficult work to do… and we all need to be a part of it. If we read today’s passage from Ephesians, Paul, too, is calling for change – a change in how we live, and a change in priorities and a big change in how we treat one another. It is clear that Americans believe it is time for a change – but what kind?? Maybe we all should start with the words from St. Paul “Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”

We have to be the change we want to see in the world. Just as so many millions of people have grown beyond prejudices, so we too must grow beyond being a culture of greed and focus instead on being a culture of givers who take care of one another and the rest of the world.

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