Yesterday Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States. And in his Inaugural address he issued a national call for unity. President Biden said, “I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real, but I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we’re all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart. The battle is perennial and victory is never assured . . . What are the common objects we as Americans love, that define us as Americans? I think we know. Opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honor and yes, the truth.”*
It was quite a moment—to hear an emphatic national call for unity given all we have endured as a country of late (and all we are enduring as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.)
Though President Biden’s words can make us pause too.
Because is a national call for unity a foolish fantasy given our current political climate?
Is unity even possible?
Our faith has something to say about this. Paul talked about the Christian community as the Body of Christ. He wrote to the Church in Corinth, “Christ is just like the human body—a body is a unit and has many parts; and all the parts of the body are one body, even though there are many.” (1 Corinthians 12:12) It’s one of the best metaphors we have in the Christian Church for valuing each person as an individual, and simultaneously recognizing that we are united in something far greater than ourselves.
Unity isn’t easy. Though it is possible.
Our Christian faith shows us that.
May the national call for unity not be viewed as a foolish fantasy, but as a real possibility. May we somehow find ways to work together for the greater good of all.
*”Joe Biden’s inauguration speech transcript, annotated” from The Washington Post, January 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2021/01/20/biden-inauguration-speech/?itid=lk_inline_manual_2
(This Week’s Thoughts 1.21.21)