Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As I sit at my computer and look out my office window down Hubbard Avenue, I see a few flags waving in the breeze and I think to myself how close we have come to losing all that those flags represent. I also reflect upon my father who was a lifelong Republican, who held political office, how upset and hurt he would have been watching what took place yesterday in our nation’s capital.
I so want to point a finger of blame out into the world. But, as if I am facing a mirror, my finger of judgement points right back at me. Over the years when I have heard words of hate or outright lies, there were times, in order to keep the peace or in fear of jeopardizing my call, where I kept silent. I confess that I, too, gave comfort and support to hate through my silence.
When I saw the two pictures of our Capitol steps from Wednesday and from the BLM protest this summer, it was once again confirmed that our country is and has always been infected with systemic racism. This, I confess, is our sin--my sin—and I must claim it. I, like the rioters from Wednesday, benefit greatly from the color of my skin, my nationality, and my creed.
This is no longer a time for complicit silence. Our God calls on us to stand with the outcast, the poor, the excluded, and with those who experience hate for who they are. God also calls on us to speak truth to power, no matter which side that power is on. God calls on me to speak truth to myself and repent-turn-from my own self-serving ways to God-serving ways. I do this by serving and loving my neighbor. Or, as my grandmother used to say, “turning from me to thee”. Let us set aside our silence and stand with our sisters and brothers from all races, creeds, and colors.
Senate Chaplain Barry Black delivered a powerful prayer just moments after Congress had affirmed President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, condemning the “desecration” of the Capitol building and reminding lawmakers of the weight of their words and actions. Here is his prayer:
"Lord of our lives and sovereign of our beloved nation, we deplore the desecration of the United States Capitol building, the shedding of innocent blood, the loss of life, and the quagmire of dysfunction that threaten our democracy. These tragedies have reminded us that words matter and that the power of life and death is in the tongue. We have been warned that eternal vigilance continues to be freedom's price.
Lord, you have helped us remember that we need to see in each other a common humanity that reflects your image. You have strengthened our resolve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies domestic as well as foreign.
Use us to bring healing and unity to our hurting and divided nation and world. Thank you for what you have blessed our lawmakers to accomplish in spite of threats to liberty.
Bless and keep us. Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to do your will and guide our feet on the path of peace. And God bless America. We pray in your sovereign name. Amen."
In Christ’s Love,
Pastor Tim Maybee
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church