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A View from Here

Exploring Faith and CommunityMacalester Plymouth United Church

January 13, 2021

Rev. Corinne Freedman Ellis

Wednesday, January 6, is known as Epiphany in the Christian tradition. It is the day when we remember that the Magi visited Jesus, who by this point was probably walking and talking, and recognized his humanity and his divinity, his unique and singular role as God with us. It is also the day when we remember that the Magi went to Jesus because King Herod was so threatened by the idea that he might lose power, he sent out “a hit on a toddler,” to quote Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021, was its own epiphany. A day to celebrate history made in Georgia: Raphael Warnock elected the first Black senator from Georgia in the state’s history. Jon Ossoff elected the first Millennial senator from any state. And a day of mourning and anger at the power-hungry leader who incited violence because he was so threatened by the idea that he might lose power.  

This news is all so fresh and raw. We are all still processing these events and considering what it might all mean: for future elections, for the peaceful transfer of power, for our own safety and security, and that of our neighbors. It is easy–tempting, even–to spiral into despair and hopelessness. I found myself believing at various points on Wednesday that we’d never have a fair democratic election again in our country and fantasizing about moving to New Zealand.  

But the reality is, friends, that we do have power. We can act with clarity to show our elected leaders that we do believe in democracy. We can strengthen our relationships across our community and our state to make change together. It is clearer today than it has ever been that the status quo is not working, and change is desperately needed, not just to restore the norms of our democracy but to transform it into the kind of democracy we dream of. The kind of democracy that works for everyone. 

I want to invite you to ISAIAH’s Statewide Leadership Summit, held virtually on Zoom on January 24 from 2 pm to 5 pm. Governor Walz, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, and other elected officials will be present, along with 3,000 Minnesotans. We can send them a clear message about what we want our democracy to look like and how we want it to function. We can strategize as a church about how to work together to make these ideals a reality. Thirty-five members of our community have already registered. I hope you’ll consider joining in the fight for multiracial democracy and a caring economy and restoring our hope for our country’s future. You can register at www.tinyurl.com/isaiahsummit

The Magi did not return to King Herod. They refused to play into his tyrannical plot. These wise ones were some of Jesus’s earliest followers, and as our spiritual ancestors, they have much to teach us about courage and resilience. May we follow their lead.

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