Uniting in Celebration

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

—Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Yesterday was an emotional day. It’s been an anxiety-filled and stressful week as we awaited the election results. After four scary and disheartening years, we can finally begin to breathe a sigh of relief and let our nation heal. After the election was called for Joe Biden, we saw celebrations all across the United States for the election of Joe Biden. As I told my friend Susan yesterday, “The celebrations seem more like we won a war than victory in a presidential election.” She responded, “I think we did!”

Under the presidency of Donald Trump, we have seen a lot of horrors. We have seen over two hundred thousand die in the United States of a disease that has ravaged the world. We have seen people uprooted because they have lost their jobs or been deported due to the president’s immigration policy. We have seen many attempts to tear down the democratic foundations of this country. We have wept a lot over what the outgoing administration has subjected us. We have mourned the loss of life. We have spent four years searching for a leader who will unite us and embrace all of us. Now is the time to be born anew, to heal, to build on cooperation, to dance, to embrace, a time to mend, a time to love, and a time for peace. November 3rd was our time to speak, and we did. Over 74 million of us spoke loudly to say we want to preserve democracy, and now it is a time to celebrate.

I think many of us feel like we have been “to hell and back.” We have found ourselves “pushed to the limit.” It may be that God is training you, like silver being refined in the fire. We cannot let this occasion go unmarked. We are celebrating, but we have a lot of work still to do to support the president-elect. Jesus told two parables that are related to us in Luke 15. As a group of “undesirables” (tax collectors and sinners) were drawing near to Jesus, the Pharisees and the scribes complained that Jesus received these sinners and ate with these undesirable people. In Luke 15:4-7, Jesus said to them:

 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Jesus says in this parable that no one should be left behind, and when we are brought together, we should rejoice. Joe Biden has run on this message; a message of healing the soul of our nation. We have suffered under the leadership of Donald Trump, and now it is time to come together and heal. Biden has said numerous times that he will be the president of all Americans. As Kamala Harris said in her victory speech last night:

“You voted. You delivered a clear message. You chose hope, unity, decency, science, and, yes, truth. You chose Joe Biden as the next President of the United States of America. Joe is a healer. A uniter. A tested and steady hand. A person whose own experience of loss gives him a sense of purpose that will help us, as a nation, reclaim our own sense of purpose. And a man with a big heart who loves with abandon.

I have never been so elated over a presidential election in my life. Even with presidents I voted for that actually won, I never felt this way about a president. I have never believed in a president so much. I believe with all my heart that Joe Biden will be a president for all Americans.

It won’t be an easy road for Joe Biden. Donald Trump’s apparent near-win, combined with Republican gains in the House and in state legislatures, tells us all we need to know where the country stands. If Trump hadn’t acted as his own worst enemy during the campaign, it might have been his landslide to claim. But Trump couldn’t pretend to be an adult long enough to assuage fears that his impulsive nature might ruin us. Biden will have to heal the divide that exists in this country. Ultimately, Biden’s victory will be a gift to the country. Biden will be the president that we need. He can make his stand — and his legacy — as the president who brought the nation back from the precipice. Biden is easy to like, and he knows the ropes. He has friends on both sides of the aisle, can broker a deal, raise the level of discourse, and restore dignity to the White House — all those things we’ve missed the past four years. After his third run for president, he has the potential opportunity to go down in history as a good man and the most consequential of presidents. His humility will be a gift to us all.

Now that the nightmare of the Trump presidency is finally coming to an end, we can do as we are told to do in Psalms 47:1, “Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!” Let us look forward to four years of a Biden/Harris administration. To quote Joe Biden’s victory speech last night:

It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric. To lower the temperature. To see each other again. To listen to each other again. To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans. The Bible tells us that to everything there is a season — a time to build, a time to reap, a time to sow. And a time to heal. This is the time to heal in America. Now that the campaign is over — what is the people’s will? What is our mandate? I believe it is this: Americans have called on us to marshal the forces of decency and the forces of fairness. To marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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