Submitted on Jan. 8, 2021
“Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
In the aftermath of the destructive and deadly insurgency at our Capitol this past Wednesday, our nation went into deep mourning. There were widespread breast-beating and soul-searching. We felt shameful and sad. Our revered Capitol building had been ransacked by thugs, and apparently spurred by our president [Trump], members of his family and his attorney.
Remarkably, that dark day of chaos befell us on Epiphany in the Christian calendar, Jan. 6, 2021, when God reveals God’s self in new and wondrous ways. The term given for this spiritual awakening is “manifestation.” Aha, I thought, Might this be the prelude to God’s fresh manifestations in 2021? I was reminded of what we’re told in Scripture – that, “while weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning” (Luke 6:21, John 16:20).
For me, the first sign of joy had come when, in the early morning following the insurgency, Congress confirmed the election of [Joseph] Biden and [Kamala] Harris and the peaceful transfer of power. Democracy had won over destruction. That same morning, we learned that Jon Ossoff had joined Rev. Raphael Warnock, in winning his Senate race in Georgia. Their combined election victories gave to the Democratic Party the leadership of all three branches of our nation’s government — the Executive branch, the Senate and the House of Representatives. It foretold of a new day dawning.
A manifest lesson for this shocking moment in our nation’s history comes from noted historian, Arnold Toynbee. In his study of the world’s nations and civilizations, Toynbee determined that those that survived and flourished, did so from facing their severest challenges with boldness, creativity and endurance. He offered a researched credence to the phrase, “The greater the challenge, the higher the response.” He also spoke of history’s rhythm of retreat and emergence, as the way for a society to achieve enlightenment and advancement.
America is at a pivotal point. The challenges before us are huge – among them are the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy, the environment, [systemic racism addressed by] the Black Lives Matter movement and immigration. We are called to pray that our nation’s government will rise to the occasion and work to address these challenges with bold visions and actions. We all need to do our part. We need to seek the truth and stand up to those who spread falsehoods and unfounded conspiracy theories that only serve to demean, divide and destroy. This is the time when all of America need to participate in reforming and healing our nation.
As told to us by the late Congressman John Lewis, arising from the lessons learned from his own civil rights struggles, “Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do their part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.” Should our participation be brave and real, we shall help our nation cross over to the other side where truth and justice are respected and practiced. The flickering light of the morning of Jan. 7 will turn into a beacon of democracy that lights the sky for the world to behold. We can then be expectant of an enduring joy that comes after a night of sorrow.
Wallace “Wally” Fukunaga has served for 30 years as a minister of the Disciples of Christ, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and the United Church of Christ. He currently serves as founder and president of Sunrise Foundation Hawaii (sunrisefoundationhawaii.org).