Happy 2021! Here’s to fostering community and standing up for truth

As I sit here and write this on the first day of the year I am keenly aware of how important both personal and community care is right now, and how lies and misinformation are seeking to divide us a country.

This is no doubt going to be a challenging month and season as a result of the necessary restrictions placed on us all by the pandemic.  It is important to cultivate connections and points of contact even from a distance and I know many of you continue to do just that.   Even so, it can be easy to grow forlorn or anxious, amidst the virus and political debates raging all around. If that’s you, I encourage you to be in touch with me and with one another.  We have a good Pastoral Care team here at First Parish Church.

I know for some of us our anxiety is made worse by the unprecedented misinformation campaigns intentionally targeting people around the United States right now.  We continue to see the President of the United States refuse to concede the election despite there being no evidence of fraud or corruption in November.  In fact, it appears that our state and federal voting systems held up quite well during the election season.

This is not preventing the President and his supporters from attempting to overturn the result of the November election in a variety of ways. The latest reports suggest that some members of Congress may now protest the votes presented as part of the Electoral College next Wednesday. Usually this event receives little or no media coverage, but not this year.  Along with this is a call for supporters to descend on Washington, DC on January 6 and then again on January 20, all in the name of protesting the results of November and asserting the election was corrupted despite there being no evidence corroborating such.  Indeed, every single significant lawsuit filed on behalf of the President has been thrown out of court for lack of evidence.

It is shocking to see how misinformation campaigns coordinated in part by the White House continue to attempt to undermine our democracy. This is the viewpoint expressed by news outlets across the ideological spectrum, from the NY Times to the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile there are a growing number of Americans around the country who require real help and assistance and this need will not abate anytime soon.

So here’s to reaching out to folks in need, both here in our own community and around the country.  And here’s to standing up for truth – and reality.  There really are the practices and principles that allow our democracy to operate and flourish and they need to be followed. Some people win elections and some people lose.  That’s how a democracy is supposed to work.

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Epiphany, in story, sermon and song.  I hope you can tune in and/or join us for some of the online programs offered this week.

See you around church.  Jeff