Civility seems like a low bar for our common life together, and yet it also seems that often we can’t even reach that. We struggle to be kind to one another in arenas of public discourse, and as we near the two month mark until midterms, I can feel the stress rising around me.
The cynicism and anger smoldering under a veneer of civility is ready to crack because of inauthenticity peeking through. We have to truly want with our whole hearts to show loving kindness to whomever we deem the “other." It is the hard work of our times: to stand for justice and proclaim our truth, but to do it with authentic love for one another.
I am grateful for American civil religion and what it has tried to bring to discourse and public life for decades. But I long for more than that in my life, and I imagine you do too. I long to be recognized and in that recognition, feel loved. I long for someone to be willing to listen to an idea, rather than simply seeing if I agree with them. I long to love people and to listen to them as well, And for that I need to feel safe.
So this morning I want to offer a prayer that for today we can do better than being civil, we can look with love and feel compassion for the people we will be in line with, the people we will sit across the table from, and for those in passing cars that didn’t drive like we wanted them to.
Let us love one another like they are the face of God.