Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Jesus, who endured such hostility from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. —Hebrews 12:1-3
Are there any remaining glimmers of hope in politics today? Such questions seem to me to be absolutely connected to the passage from the letter to the Hebrews. One thing that it says to me is that we do not have the luxury of falling into despair. There are too many folks who have fought too long and given too much and found their way through too many disappointments and seeming failures for us to say, oh, it just didn’t work, and, I’m finished with that stuff.
When you’re surrounded by Fannie Lou Hamer and Amzie Moore and Septima Clark and Malcolm X and Martin King and Ella J. Baker, and when you take seriously those lives and the thousands like them, then it seems to me that the first response to what we’ve been through in these last few years is the question that one of my friends said she is always asking: What is the gift? For she assumes that life is full of gifts, sometimes absolutely disguised gifts. She assumes that whatever we are in the midst of, especially when it’s fear-provoking and despair-encouraging, it is so necessary, so important, to keep asking, “What is the gift here?”