If you have been coming to worship during the Easter season you will have noticed that our theme for this period between Easter and Pentecost is “Emerge”. It is a theme which feels particularly apropos here in Oregon as we find ourselves emerging from the winter rain and snow, the gray and cloudy days, into the clear blue skies, the lushness, the warmth, and the beauty that is our Oregon summer.
The season of spring is the season of emergence in nature, just as it is in our liturgical calendar. This year, it seems, there is another emergence happening as well. At least I hope I am reading the signs correctly! I have begun to wonder if there is something emerging alongside the now visible reality of the teetering Jenga game of “rage-onomics” we have been playing for too long? Perhaps I am wrong, but the ousting of Tucker Carlson from Fox News seems to have marked the turning point in the political winter that we have been living with these past 6 years. Carlson’s departure, along with the indictment of Donald Trump and the Dominion settlement with Fox News, seem to portend something emergent in the political landscape. Has the politics of hate become too expensive for the corporate king makers behind the scenes? Have the consequences of “us vs. them” come too close to those who would "otherize"? I have watched as each mass shooting created more outrage and the voices of more “sensible” gun owners joined the abolitionists to do something more than offer our thoughts and prayers. I have watched as women who are Pro-Life have joined the Reproductive Choice caucus now that the reality of a post-Roe world has stripped them of their rights, too. I have watched as constituents who have been silenced alongside their elected representatives, have used their voices in the galleries and the streets to demand that their freedom to represented by their elected leaders be restored. I have watched as people, good people from across the political spectrum, have begun to pull back the curtain to see the forces behind the fear and outrage they have been fed. I have watched as people begin to realize they are being used, manipulated, duped into helping create a world that is anything but free, or fair, or just.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:30-32
The disciples who encountered Jesus on the Emmaus Road were able to emerge from their grief when they encountered the Risen Christ over dinner after a long day of travel. It took time for this emergence to happen. It took relationship building, food, honesty. During this Easter season we can think about our own emergence over these last 18 months. How are we emerging personally, as a congregation, as a people? From my perspective I see the emergence of passion and commitment, joy and curiosity, playfulness and hope. And I am witnessing the willingness and desire to address the places that are still tender, that still need healing. The emergence (or re-emergence?) of compassion and empathy has opened our eyes and hearts and made room for the Spirit to do amazing things in and through you! In a few weeks we will celebrate Pentecost, the day when the Christian Church recognizes its emergence! We will gather in the sanctuary dressed in red and fanning the flames of our emergence into the green season of growth. My prayer is that the emergence we are experiencing in our congregation is mirrored in our politics, our collective conscience, and in the Commonality, we share with the rest of Creation. May our eyes be opened, and our hearts be filled with the love, humility, and justice of Christ.