January 7, 2021
Friends & Family,
I am shocked, but have to admit, not really surprised, by yesterday’s events and images at the Capitol Building of the United States of America. It seems that anything is possible in today’s world. I would not have believed, 20 years ago, anyone who told me that in my lifetime I would see a foreign terrorist attack on U. S. soil, and a domestic riot trashing our country’s capitol. Yet now I have, on 9-11-2001, and 1-6-2021.
Talk of responsibility/blame was almost instantaneous with the events, and I do believe individuals who were involved in unlawful activity at the capitol yesterday should be held legally accountable for their actions. However, those individuals, and that activity, are simply the end result of changes in the nature of our culture. As one commentator put it last night, “We should not be surprised by this, since this is where we’ve been heading for years.” The people at the capitol were people from our neighborhoods and communities across our country, yet we may hardly even know them. We are so isolated now from each other in our homes and in our lives that it is possible for each of us to build up our own version of reality, and have it affirmed through social media groups and websites of our choosing, without connecting with our physical neighbors.
This weekend I will be preaching on baptism, using the vows we take (and renew) at our baptism to remind us how we are to be in this world. In a way, I’m advocating another subculture in our nation. It is a way of being in our world that trusts in a faith that God and Christ will lead us, empower us, and grace us in our lives. In times like this that shock us, our faith calls us to look to God to lead us to a better day, and a better way of living together; to empower us to do the work we need to bring that day, and that way, closer to realization; and to grace us when we fall short of our calling, to help us up when we stumble, and give us hope in our darkest times.
The responsibility for changing this darkness of divisiveness lies with us, in that listening to God. We have to reach out to our neighbors, to re-establish relationships so that we know, and they know, we are not each other’s enemies. There are ways we have done this in the past, and we can listen for new ways God leads us to do this in the future. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, to do to/for others what we would like them to do to/for us, to love our enemies, even just to listen to what’s important for the other person.
I invite you to prayer, asking God to help you find ways to connect with others in our community so that we may feel more like a community; that we may trust in each other instead of feeling threatened by each other. Anything is possible in God’s world.