This nation is in the midst of a mythic battle between right and wrong, truth and lies, life and death, and… good and evil. Yep. I said it.
Sometimes it has felt like I was watching a fast-moving train careen around corners. I sucked in my breath, heart thumping, waiting to see if the cars would fall off the rails or down the side of a mountain or churn over a trackless canyon to disintegrate as it plowed into the earth.
Sometimes it has felt like I was watching a slow-moving train with no engineer, no known direction, and no one in control.
The visuals have changed. There are not trains in my present day imaging. Rather a battle where the weapons of truth and lies have equal value. Where the end result will either be life-giving or death-dealing. Where our nation, and even the world will choose for their organizing principle to be those of good (freedom, justice, community, mutuality, diversity, law) or evil (control, vigilantism, division, hierarchy, homogeneity, and power).
It helps to change the imagery. Trains are massive metal containers pulled by even more massive engines that take miles of track to come to a stop. There is no way to turn a train unless pre-prescribed tracks are involved. The way is laid out and diversion is precipitated by disaster.
So… how might this conflict be reimagined? What would it mean if we did not see ourselves as powerless? And what, in this world where we experience so much as being out of our control, can we do to make a difference?
Here is my proposal: let every one of us claim our inner Moses. Imagine the power shift!
Hear me out. The people were inured to an intolerable and seemingly hopeless situation. They might dream of freedom and justice but felt powerless to make change. They may not have realized, because of its universal nature, that slavery was evil. When every day is about survival, enough to eat, enough to pay rent, enough to put gas in the car, then fighting for an idea, even a holy one, can take the back seat.
Moses rose up from his privilege to challenge the status quo and lead the people on the dangerous journey to freedom. Let us take a lesson from that for the present. Those of us who see what is going on must use whatever privilege we have to challenge the power of the right as it seeks to control women, demote queers to second class citizens, eliminate trans folk, and disenfranchise people of color. Period. It means making mistakes, trusting Godde, and learning from one another and from the journey how to be free.
Free and just. Free and mutual. Free and diverse. Free and always learning more deeply what true freedom looks like.
We must recognize the evil before us and stand up to those who use their power to keep power. We must risk ourselves and talk back to lies.
We must raise up an idea that is better and greater than our immediate security.
The idea of a world where personal gain and personal power are not the highest values.
Where freedom is everyone’s birthright.
Where all voices are heard.
Where we cast our lots together for the greater good of the whole.
We must step out in faith that Godde calls us to cross over seas that overwhelm us, trusting that Godde makes a way out of no way.
We must challenge the idols of control and wealth.
We must do the difficult work of learning what it means to be truly free.
We must do the work even if we do not end up living to see the results of our work.
Godde doesn’t care if you ‘stutter’ or whatever hindrance you believe keeps you from the work. Use the gifts you have with whatever challenges you have. The time in NOW. Our nation and our world need us.
Embrace your flawed, wonderful inner Moses and step out in faith.