Patriotism and the People’s House

As we collectively staggered through 2020, dealing with a pandemic; as the spread of the virus across the globe left thousands dead; as businesses closed, people lost jobs and lines at food pantries grew; as the relentless search to discover vaccines to counteract Covid 19 was frantically carried out; we looked to 2021 for some relief, some hope, some change. 

            How startling then, only six days into the new year, to see our capitol under siege by people who considered themselves “patriots” acting to “take back the country.” 

            “All ‘isms’ run out in the end, and good riddance to most of them, patriotism for example,” wrote Frederick Buechner, an American writer, novelist, poet, autobiographer, essayist, preacher, and theologian, “The only patriots worth their salt,” he continued, “are the ones who love their country enough to see that in a nuclear age it is not going to survive unless the world survives. True patriots are no longer champions of Democracy, Communism, or anything like that but champions of the Human Race.”

            Buechner suggests that patriotism can become an idol, used to justify one’s life.  His assertion that religious people are prone to idols seemed to be on display as the insurrectionists prayed around House Speaker Pelosi’s dais, folks whose statements only minutes earlier had indicated an intention to harm her.  

            So what do we count hopeful in this year with such a dismal beginning?  Consider that a lone policeman led the angry mob away from the path that would have brought them to where the legislators they sought were being sequestered; that, despite having just experienced grave danger, legislators regrouped immediately to do the work of The People’s House; that, despite years of political division, there was bipartisan agreement to certify a duly elected president.  

            We are a country rooted in hope, founded by people who faced an uncertain and daunting future, but laid groundwork for future generations. Hope lies in the recognition of the resilience that has brought us time and again through tumultuous times.

         May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter.  Shalom, Kate

Hope’s Café Bonus: “If there is hope in the future, there is literally power in the present.”—Zig Ziglar