Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy (Matthew 5:7).
We grieve a beautiful dream.
A post recently published here, “Grieve Your Dreams, Renew Your Hopes,” discusses how we lament lost dreams. Those dreams and our laments matter to God.
People who angrily protest Donald Trump’s inauguration grieve a dream. They get much media attention, as they should. Their critics call them sore losers, missing the point.
Quieter souls feel deeply saddened. Many fear for themselves or people they care about whom the president attacked on the campaign trail. Also, they feel suddenly alienated in a nation that seems to reject the dream of beloved community.
“I Have a Dream” of the Beloved Community.
The angry and sad grieve the dream pronounced in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, “I Have a Dream,” that we will finally live out the basic Constitutional principal of equality, that adults of different races will break bread together and their children join hands, that freedom and justice will ring. The scope of this vision expanded as we recognized that this prophetic justice applies to gender, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.
Many of us who grieve could fit right into Donald Trump’s dream of a lily white America where everyone gratefully receives the blessing of his quasi-heroic fight for “America first” and hear prosperity gospel sermons on Sunday mornings. Nevertheless, we grieve because, to quote Frederick Buechner, “Unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me….” We grieve in compassionate solidarity with vulnerable people.
Many of us grieve because we know ourselves broken and lost except that God had mercy on us, and from that time forward, it became our heart’s desire to carry that mercy to others. We grieve because we remember our lives before we awoke to God’s mercy, the days when each of us was more interested in being the one who dies with the most toys. By grace, we grew more interested in participating in a community of mutual care and concern.
But here is a lovely irony:
If Dr. King’s dream had not already come true to an extent no president or congress or court can reverse, we would not grieve this moment. If Dr. King’s dream had not already taken hold permanently, none of us who could comfortably take a place in President Trump’s dream would pass on it.
As Dr. King started that memorable cadence of hope, he said, “Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.”
We lament today’s loss, but let us carry on with the dream still being realized. Let us channel the anger of grief toward the destruction of no one and the construction of a beloved community for everyone. Let us listen to the sadness of grief to restore solidarity with all who suffer. For God is nothing if not merciful, and as we move forward with mercy, we will see the day when God’s dream comes true.
Grieve Your Dreams, Renew Your Hopes
Hope After the Debates
Wild Goose Festival 2016: Mourning and Dancing by the River
Patient Peacemaking Trumps Trump: A Christmas Story
Political Incivility Versus Divine Mercy: Choose Your Story Line
 Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat. (New York: Seabury Press, 1983), 143.