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Some Thoughts for January 7

January 7, 2021

“I am yours; save me.” Psalm 119:94

Yesterday was a hard day. I’d like to ask, “Who would have ever thought that armed insurrectionists would storm the US Capitol and try to overturn the clear will of American voters?” I’d like to ask that question, but I already know the answer. Who would have thought? I would have thought. Such a scene has been playing out in my mind for two months, and I know I’m not the only one who has harbored these fears. Stoked by hatred and lies, these fellow citizens somehow reached the conclusion that their actions yesterday, which have left four people dead, were the correct, the “patriotic,” thing to do. Fortunately, the fabric of democracy has held. An orderly transition will occur. I prayed yesterday for a better day today. My prayer this morning is the same. There is much work to do.

I sit here this morning with thoughts far from fully formed. I know that America is still divided. I know that the new administration is not going to magically solve everything, nor will it always be right about everything. I also know that, as the church, it is our job to witness to the truth. First and foremost, we proclaim the truth of the gospel, the grace by which God has come to us in Christ to save us. His reign is above that of any nation, including ours.

As followers of Jesus, whose allegiance is to a kingdom not of this world, we are free to act boldly for truth within the kingdoms of this world. The truth of this election, whether or not one is pleased with the outcome, is that is was conducted freely and fairly. There has been no evidence of widespread fraud (there hasn’t been much evidence of near-spread fraud, either). The votes that some have sought to erase have largely been votes cast by Black and Brown citizens. The effort to overturn the election has been racially motivated.

Speaking of race, while the mob at the Capitol may not have been homogenous, it sure looked like it was nearly so. Armed white people attempted to take control of the seat of government, and they were successfully turned back even though law enforcement was very restrained in its use of force. I am far from the first person to wonder what the response would have been had People of Color done such a despicable thing. And the point is not that law enforcement officers should have responded with greater violence yesterday (they seem to have acted with bravery and prudence), but that such restraint should be applied equitably.

Where do we go from here? I’ll start with today’s Old Testament verse from the Daily Texts, a reminder that we are in God’s hands and a cry to our God for salvation. May God have mercy upon us as we do the hard work of living together in this country. Many of our disagreements are both valid and deep, and we need to remember that we have democratic means by which to sort these things out. Sometimes the views I espouse will win, sometimes they won’t. That’s how it goes. We need to listen to one another with charity and openness, learning from one another and growing together. Surely I am in need of this reminder as much as anyone else.

But divisions that arise from hatred and from fearing the other, these divisions need to be overcome and left behind. Our nation aspires to be a place where all people of good will can find a home and the freedom to live in liberty and happiness. May the distance between reality and aspiration continue to shrink.

Finally, I’ll put my hope this morning in the same place it was when I put my head on the pillow last night, unable to stay awake any longer to watch Congress do its work. I’ll place my hope in Christ, who died and was raised to free us for life both eternal and abundant, in the next world and in this one. May God bless us. May Christ lead us. May the Spirit breathe life into this world.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of grace, let your light shine upon all peoples and nations. Give us grace to face these days and love for one another. Knowing the truth of Christ, help us to work for the sake of truth in this world, pursuing righteousness and peace for all people. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Greta at the World War II Memorial, August 11, 2013. I think this is the last time we were in Washington. Our nation is a work in progress, but I am grateful that my children are growing up in a country that still aspires to higher ideals, and grateful to the men and women memorialized here and at other places. May we steward their gift well and wisely for our children and our children’s children.

From → COVID-19

  1. Karen Jackson permalink

    Thank you for this…I needed it this morning. Still sad and scared about the feelings of hatred that seem so deeply rooted. What will/does it mean for my husband and kids who thankfully seem somewhat oblivious and annoyed by the adults who can’t seem to figure out that “of course we should all be treated equally! Why is this even a thing?!” Will repeat this prayer a lot in the coming days.

  2. Rita Zyber permalink

    Thank you! Well said! Our nation needs prayers.

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