His was a warning that times are tough, and not going to get easier soon.
“It’s exhausting to give a damn, isn’t it? To be a person of compassion in a time when compassion is in such great demand. . . . you see how much compassion is required, and what people of faith are called to in this moment. . . .
I think you’re here because you’re a damn-giver. I think you’re here because you have a deep love for humanity, and because you do, I think you’re exhausted.”
“I know the question that you ask as a person of faith: Is it me, or has a large portion of my people lost their minds?”
He also put out a call to action.
“That you see how upside-down all this is means that your faculties are intact. . . . Your heart is working properly.”
“If you’re not angry right now, your empathy is broken, and your faith is ornamental. So it’s OK to be angry. But I want you to decide tonight what you’re going to do to transform that anger into something other than anger. Into something beautiful. Into something redemptive.”
“People ask me, ‘John, how do you keep going?’ . . . I keep going because I look around and I see the damn-givers. I see that the people of God are still there. I still see that faithful, decent, loving, compassionate people still inhabit this place. And I see you tonight.”
Drawing on Theodore Parker’s oft-quoted dictum that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice, Pavlovitz called on all of us to put some effort into making that bend.
“I’m an impatient person. I believe that the arc of the universe may bend, but I want to give it a huge nudge right now. . . . The arc of the universe does not bend without us. . . . Humanity is the irresistible force shaping the crescent we stand upon. . . . You and I, we are the arc-benders. We are not passive victims . . . ”
“Decide what matters to you . . . and then what are you going to do about it? How are you going to leverage your gifts, and your time, and your resources, and your vote to make sure that the people who come after us have an America worth inheriting?”