So many thoughts and feelings swirl around my head and heart that I don’t know where to start this June 5 and 6. Fifty years ago Bobby Kennedy won the California Democratic Primary June 5 and then was assassinated, dying June 6. Two million people lined the railroad tracks for his funeral procession from New York City to Washington D.C., all races and economic classes, honoring a man whom they saw as being able to bridge divisions, and bring hope in that dark and dangerous 1968. Over 4000 gather today in Arlington Cemetery to remember and ponder “hope.”
It’s dark in Mason City, Iowa, this morning, the kind of day one wants to just pull the covers over one’s head and refuse to feel or face 2018. What do you make of the news? A Supreme Court decision and the ongoing question of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The Philadelphia Eagles? Invitation to the White House and presidential preoccupation with popularity. Honoring the nation and the flag by kneeling out of commitment to justice for all. Pardoning oneself or service for others? Children of immigrants and refugees separated from their parents as an incentive for their parents to not come to this country. Primary elections, here in Iowa, and yes, again on June 5 in California.
June 6: D Day 1944. A day that changed the world. Our nation together with its allies risking all in service that turned the tide of WW II. Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the Battle of Normandy. In 1968, the United States struggled over the Viet Nam War and we were torn apart over racial and economic inequality. And 2018? Do we understand what is at stake in nuclear negotiations globally? Do we believe trade wars with allies protect our “God-given” national identity? Do we comprehend the necessity of a vital United Nations as much today as after WW II? Do we daily kneel and listen and work to understand each other across racial divides?
So we wonder. Issues swirl around. Is there an absence of hope? An anxiety? An apathy? What will the November 5th election results mean? In some places there were large turnouts; in some places fewer than 100 people in a county voted.
June 5: the 58th anniversary of my consecration as a deaconess. That day I made a commitment to faith and service in Christ for a lifetime. What would that mean? I would not fully know. We cannot know, but God knows and continues to call us. The days have been dark before and divisions dangerous. We pray for wisdom for the choices that are before us these days and for the courage and energy to live into the challenges together.