As the election gets closer our country feels more and more dichotomous. Somehow, every ballot season we regress into our primal selves of creating divisions that segregate us from one another. Somehow, we have limited the breadth of creation to these fictitious binary systems over and over again … male or female, Republican or Democrat, Black or white. Scripture speaks very clearly to the falsehood of these labels that would confine us. Jesus spent his life speaking out against such divisions, much to the chagrin of even (and at times especially) church leadership. Asking in Luke, why don’t you tell your disciples to shut up? But Jesus rebukes them saying that if the disciples were silent the very rocks would cry out. This is what we as a church are called to do still, to speak out, stand up, show up. This does not (by any stretch of the imagination) mean that we will always agree, but it is an essential expression of our faith. Perhaps the reason it has been so contentious around political seasons is precisely because we have silenced ourselves during other times in the year and in our lives. We are minimizing the spectrum of life and humanity when we do this.
For example did you know…
October is: Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Eye Injury Prevention Month, Health Literacy Month, Healthy Lung Month, Home Eye Safety Month, National ADHD Awareness Month, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Bullying Prevention Month, National Dental Hygiene Month, National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, National Medical Librarians Month, National Physical Therapy Month, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, Spina Bifida Awareness Month, Sudden Infant Death Awareness Month, Mental Illness Awareness Week, Malnutrition Awareness Week, World Cerebral Palsy Day, National Depression Screening Day, Bone and Joint Health National Action Week, Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, International Infection Prevention Week, World Food Day, National Coming Out Day, National Healthcare Quality Week, World Pediatric Bone and Joint Day, National Health Education Week, International Stuttering Awareness Day, Respiratory Care Week, World Psoriasis Day…(BREATH)…National Pet CBD Month, Adopt A Shelter Dog Month, American Cheese Month, Bat Appreciation Month, Caffeine Addiction Recovery Month, Celebrating The Bilingual Child Month, Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Dyslexia Awareness Month, Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month, Financial Planning Month, German-American Heritage Month, Global Diversity Awareness Month, Italian-American Heritage Month, International Walk To School Month, LGBT History Month, Long-Term Care Planning Month, as well as National Principals Month and Pastor Appreciation Month. And I am sure I missed more.
Here then is the question … at what point did we become so fractured and so UNaware as to need all of these designations on any given day, week, or month to remind us to be good humans, to look out for one another, to be aware of the needs of our fellows? Perhaps we were self-isolated long before COVID ever arrived in our reality. Here’s the good news, we still have the opportunity to become more aware, more responsible, more engaged human beings who not only vote, but invest in the relationships of those around us so that we can lead more faithful and informed lives. This is ultimately how we make a change, how we become the church, how we follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Rev. Debbie Saxe is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and currently serves as minister of the First Christian Church of Cuyahoga Falls. She is on Twitter @IrRevRant.