Some days are gloomy - even when the sun is shining. I want to shine myself. I want to be one of Jesus' lighted people.
When I cast about for whence comes the gloom, I must admit it comes winging in over the air waves. Molly turns off the TV before I do, but the dark spirit of anger in the land still hangs in the air.
I cling to the dream that is the Pilgrim Vision for America, that, as John Winthrop, leader of the Puritans, said on the Arabella arrival in Boston: "We are as a city set upon a hill, with the eyes of the world upon us." He saw the America that would be, as a city of hope - indeed a country of hope - for the world. A people of God, creating community, and dedicated to serving their towns, their families, and the world.
In the revolutionary generation that followed a century and a half later, John Adams said something like "democracy is made possible by believing people." Faith has to be the foundation for America's life.
Which calls us to the spirit of forgiveness, of a wise understanding of human nature, of a Biblical understanding that God chooses to work through compromised, broken, bad people as well as those more purely good. The people elect leaders, and pledge to uphold, and pray for them. Our leaders deserve our support. Because of the leadership the country, and God, have given them.
Too much spirit of revenge, if not hatred, has hung heavy over the impeachment process that has been playing out before us. I marvel at the resilience of our president in carrying out his work through these years of unimaginable pressure.
I have experienced myself that dark spirit working among people I was committed to serving, people who were - and are - my friends. My job was still to serve them, to try to understand and love them, even as some of them told others things about my work and life and decisions that were not true.
When I went round to see a dozen or so of those leaders, I found they didn't even understand what they had done. Only one woman out of a dozen or so who had worked for my departure, understood practically and theologically what had happened. "Arthur," she said, "we were overtaken by an alien spirit." She was right. A demonic spirit. It was as Jesus pled from the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." These Christian friends in fact, did not know what they were doing. A dark spirit from beyond them had overtaken their minds and hearts.
That fact, so human, became so understandable. It has made all of that so much more easy to forgive. And that forgiveness has made reconciliation possible for me and for them. For the healing process then became God's work. And He has done it, slowly but surely.
I pray for the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation in our Congress, in our President, and among the American people. I believe it is the only way out of the angry malaise into which we have fallen.
And, I believe it is our work - as the Church of Jesus - through prayer, through compassionate understanding, through all of us becoming reconcilers by the power of the Spirit, to labor daily to bring it about.
I have seen it happen, out of the most horrific hell of the Rwanda Genocide. A whole country is being transformed - by FORGIVENESS.
Let it be so in this called country of America, for the healing of our land. May a great dawn come, out of the darkness of these days.
Love you all, as I ask you to forgive me.
Your brother, Arthur
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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