Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29
One November morning two years ago, I sat in that chapel with about a dozen of you. Some of you were crying. Others looked lost. I know I felt almost nothing other than a deep and gnawing fear—fear for our country, fear for myself, fear for my daughter and the life she would face if we left the Paris Climate Accords and the rule of law. Never before did I feel, as a pastor, that it was my responsibility to hold something after an election. But some of those faces that day I will never forget, nor some of those tears.
I think I realize now that some of those tears came from the experience of sexual assault, and seeing a man who brags about assault suddenly become the most powerful man in the world. And over the past few days, I cannot say how this city has seemed to grow absolutely still, now that another man credibly accused of sexual assault stands on the brink of a lifetime appointment to one of the most powerful offices in the world. Yesterday I went to a birthday party in Central Park, and I took Frances for a walk so she would fall asleep. I like to eavesdrop when I walk, but every single conversation I could grasp concerned one thing: the hearings for the nominee to the Supreme Court. I have received calls from some of you, telling me about your own experiences of assault, and of how the horrible memories have suddenly come back to you, emotions that you thought you had under control returning with vengeance, or by stealth, to send your life into a tailspin. The whole country is in a tailspin—from hurricanes in the east, to fires in the west, and opioid overdoses everywhere between. The whole world is in a tailspin—from the reemergence of fascism in Europe to the inability of whales to procreate because their water is too warm, we are in trouble. We are in trouble, and the tools we have at hand may not be adequate for the crises in front of us. I said two Novembers ago that I could not promise you that everything was going to be ok. I can’t promise any such thing today, either. My best guess is that the nominee will sit on the Supreme Court, and all the tools we need will be that much farther from our hands.