Many times I have found myself troubled by the way some in the faith community allow their political or economic convictions to override the kinds of concerns and values that seem to be at the heart of Jesus' message about the Kingdom, and the kind of lives He calls us to live. As a pastor, I have often felt that I would get much less negative reaction were I to suggest that Jesus was really a Hindu than if I were to suggest that he probably would not be a member of a particular political party. As Gilkey's Shantung Compound so insightfully demonstrates, what our real object of Ultimate Concern is, is not always what we might say that it is, and this shows up most clearly when we are under stress or feel threatened.
In recent years, however, with the growing dissonance that has resulted from the sense that this common, shared ground has been eroding beneath our feet, it has been much more difficult to look the world in the eye, (not withstanding the contributions of those who selflessly serve at the risk of their own lives to protect that shared ground), and not feel like we have let them, and ourselves, down in significant ways.
But today, for the first time in a long time, it felt good to hear old familiar notes -- ones that there was reason to fear were being either forgotten or erased from the score -- struck up again. Today, to things that have long been needed to say "no" to, "no" was said. Things that we have need to say "yes" to, heard "yes." again. What began today is not the answer to all of the world's, problems, or our country's problems, or our individual problems. Christians know that better than anyone. No political party or leader, and certainly no nation, including this one, holds the ultimate keys to salvation or redemption. But in a significant way, today, light began to shine into some dark places places again, and dissonance began to give way to places of resonance. And wherever that happens in our world today, or any day, it is worth stopping, and noticing, and giving thanks for.