Yesterday was All Saint’s Day and a week from Election Day. It’s hard to believe that by this time next week, we will (presumably) have elected the person who will serve as the 45th POTUS. Some astonishing descriptions of both candidates have been hurled around and “saint” was not one of them. Interestingly, the “character” factor has not included any baseline requirements of any religiosity. If it did at least some of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount or Luke’s Sermon on the Plain (The gospel for the All Saint’s liturgy) would be referenced at some point. In any case, the instruction of blessings and woes, The Beatitudes, is considered foundational for Christian formation. The Blessed in both include: the poor, the hungry, the weeping, the hated. The Woeful include: the rich, the full, the laughing, the publicly revered. Also in both, we are to love our enemies, forgive, be generous, humble, and obey the Golden Rule.
If we hold up The Beatitudes or Jesus’ character model against a year’s worth of insults and taunts, we can see how character is and isn’t defined or regarded in the public discourse. We see how the absence of foundational faith tenets can impact society, including our children. Perhaps, in previous election cycles, the content and vocabulary of these “dialogues” would have gone over the heads of younger children. But this time, we have been saturated with language and ideas that have been analyzed by linguists who have determined them to be on par with a 3rd or 4th grader’s verbal abilities, a.k.a. school-yard bashing. And believe me, the children are listening and interested. But I think that they are confused, not about the content, but about the way that publicly celebrated adults are behaving.
I can think of no better counter-balance for our children’s confusion than “communing with the Saints” this Sunday, every Sunday; indeed, every day, every place.