taking the words of Jesus seriously

This time, one year ago, members of extended families shivered at the reality of the unavoidably approaching Thanksgiving holiday. I was among them. If we’d learned nothing else before November, we’d learned how terrible we could be, one human to another, as our country and our homes grew increasingly divided by contradicting fears. “Where is it all headed now?” This became, at best, the pondering and, at worst, the deep trepidation of the American population. The dread birthed within an ugly election season did not stop with the polls.

In the following months, rumors and implementations of policy changes have shaken the security, goals, and quality of life for many. Threats to healthcare, and dreamers, and trans women, and unarmed black males flood our feeds, and it seems we cannot organize a march or vigil fast enough before another tragedy strikes. Piled on top of the loose and damaging words spouting relentlessly from our country’s chief leadership have been the demonization of peaceful protestors, followed by the tragedies of Charlottesville, Vegas, and Sutherland Springs. We’ve watched the Syrian footage, braced for news from the Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico coasts. Additionally, and so very tragically, we’ve witnessed the unconditional, all-compassionate, mercifully openhanded love of Jesus be confused with a religion that’s willing to hitch its wagon to hate, violence, racism, and power.

It has been a hard year for diversity, minorities, oppressed people groups and those who love them.

But Tuesday.

On Tuesday, a little light flickered in a mound of cold embers. Words like Refugee, Transgendered, Sikh, Black, Latina, Vietnamese, and Women were not circulating in the news simply because of new dangers facing them, but because of the victories achieved in elections all across the country. On Tuesday, tired people like me in a tiring hell of bad news wondered, for a moment, if the tides could change again, if there could be more love warriors than we’d imagined, if we may actually get to see goodness bubble on up to the surface one more time.

On election night, I took my first, deep breath in weeks.

And today, I wrote a prayer to read now and in the coming months when the next vote is needed, the next march is organized, and the next disaster comes to hijack our confidence in humanity. When the ember mound seems to grow cold once more, I want to remember today…and Tuesday. I want to remember hope.

Hope’s Drums: A Call and Response Litany

Do we hear it now?
That low vibration rumbling toward us now?
They’re the drums of hope.
We remember hope.

Do we feel it now?
That deep sensation filling our lungs now?
That’s long awaited breath.
We remember breathing.

We clasp our hands
Over our mouths
Our eyes well up
Our sighs flow out
There is more good
There is more good
There has to be

Do we believe it now?
That the current coursing underneath the world right now
Is a river of mercy.
We remember our baptism. 

Might we hold out now?
And trust the rays that greet the eastern fields, still now.
An ever-rising sun.
We remember the morning.

We join our hands
To make the round
Our eyes well up
Our sighs flow out
There is more good
There is more good
There has to be

Can we see it now?
Those faint figures marching over hilltops now?
The warriors of love.
We remember their number.

And don’t we know it now?
That melody transcending all the pain right now?
That’s the human song.
We remember singing.

In unison
We raise our plows
Our eyes well up
Our sighs flow out
There is more good
There is more good
There has to be

There is more good
There is more good
We’re remembering

About The Author


Britney Winn Lee is an author, liturgist, and United Methodist pastor living in Shreveport, Louisiana, with her creative husband and big-hearted son. Her books include The Boy with Big, Big Feelings (Beaming Books), The Girl with Big, Big Questions (Beaming Books), Rally: Communal Prayers for Lovers of Jesus and Justice (Upper Room), Deconstructed Do-Gooder: A Memoir about Learning Mercy the Hard Way (Cascade Books), the recently released Good Night, Body: Finding Calm from Head to Toe (Tommy Nelson), and the forthcoming The Kid With Big, Big Ideas (Beaming Books). With a masters degree in nonprofit administration and her local pastor licensure, Lee has worked for over a decade in faith- and justice-based, creative community-building. She writes to make room. See what she’s creating at patreon.com/theseparticularwords and on socials @britneywinnlee .

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