I shared these words as part of my sermon on November 20:
It has been a hard couple of weeks for our nation. Our nation is so deeply divided, and I mourn that so. But I have faith that God is our refuge and strength. And while I promise that this isn’t a sermon about the recent presidential election, it’s hard to ignore. So let me say just this.
One of my preaching heroes, William Sloane Coffin, pastor of the Riverside Church in New York City in the 1980s, was reportedly once told by a member of his congregation something like, “Pastor, you have to tell us the truth. But if it is a hard truth to hear, please speak it softly.”
So I promise always to do my best to tell you the truth, and to speak it softly.
So hear these soft words.
People are frightened. You may be frightened. Even the cast of the ultra-popular Broadway show, Hamilton, felt the need to speak a word of challenge and hope to the vice president elect attending their performance on Friday night. I wrote to you on the morning after election day, “It is what happens now that the election is over—how we treat one another, how we respect one another, how we love one another—that will make or break our future. Now is the time for us to listen deeply and to work compassionately in the pursuit of liberty and justice for all God’s people. It is the church’s particular gift to seek unity even in our vast diversity.”
That is true, but it has also become evident that since the election those who carry a kind of hate that all of us gathered here abhor have been bolstered to hate very loudly. That hate is being expressed primarily by people who look like I do or who love like I do or who claim the same religious tradition as I do, expressed against those who do not look or love or worship like I do.
It must stop.
And we must stand together and stand with our neighbors, every neighbor, to stop it. We must stand with our Jewish and Muslim neighbors who fear retribution, our transgender neighbors who fear violence, our immigrant neighbors who fear losing their families—even the neighbor who didn’t vote for the candidate I voted for. This isn’t about the president elect—it isn’t about who you voted for or why—it is about all of us standing together for all of us.
That is my deepest hope, that we stand together, and that is surely why we are here this morning, isn’t it, to stand together?
And I needed to say that to you this morning, softly and with love.
You can read the rest of the sermon here.