I spent two hours on Saturday standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the rain with the crowd gathered in downtown Portland for the Women’s March protesting the policies of the new Administration. For a long time, we believed that we were stranded with no place to go. When my sweater began soaking under the Gore-Tex jacket, I made my way back to the Morrison Street bridge, arriving there just as the crowd began to break free. I’m not Oregon-tough: many of the marchers were bare-headed in the drizzle.
I could try to explain the work I facilitated in that setting, and again this morning during services at Portland’s First Unitarian Universalist Church. But I keep on coming back to two moments: the little girl poking the puddles with her protest sign, prompting me to say:
No matter who is president, there’s still going to be rain puddles! And aren’t they just the best!
The other is that last reading at Sister Gloria’s contemplative prayer gathering. It was the wedding at Cana, which ends with the observation:
…and his disciples began to believe in him.
In elaborating my choice of this phrase, I explained the paradox that Jesus’s entire ministry was devoted to one purpose: that people would come to believe in themselves.
Today’s sermon assumed that we were in for a long, dark struggle – a struggle that will force us to think in immediate terms and conserve our strength. The Reverend minister revealed that he found himself praying much more in this season. I was also surprised that the musical selections explicitly evoked God, something that I thought was disappearing from Unitarian Universalist worship. And so I had the compulsion to offer him this wisdom in the hall outside the sanctuary:
The divine purpose for humanity is that we bind love to the world. This era is the last hurrah of selfishness. They are divorcing themselves from reality, and in this time, truth spoken in love will have enormous power. They are the most potent tools for dispelling fear.
Thank-you for being here for your community.
This is not a time for thinking small or harboring resources. This is the moment to stretch to our limits and grasp victory. It is time to believe that you were designed through loving to channel great power to each other.