I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me. I will be present for you, declares the Lord, and I will end your captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have scattered you, and I will bring you home after your long exile, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
Good Day Family,
God’s Truth, Plans and Instruments.
Like many of you, I have watched the events of this week in horror. Let me be clear and unequivocal. The violence that was incited and occurred at the United States Capitol this week was evil, unacceptable, and contrary to everything professed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The words, spoken in the wee hours of the night, of Senator Mitt Romney continue to echo in my spirit. He said, in part, “The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. That is the burden, and the duty, of leadership.”
As Christians, we also bear an obligation to the truth. It serves no one to continue to pursue only the absence of conflict by suppressing genuine and faithful disagreements. That isn’t peace, and that stunts our growth individually and as a community. At the same time, violence has no place in expressing discontent. What we witnessed was not of God, and we, as Christ’s witnesses, have to stand up for the good news of a God who loves us so much that God comes to us, enters into the ugliness and despair with hope.
These events transpired on the date that the Christian church observes as Epiphany, where we recognize the revelation of the Word made flesh as the magi came bearing gifts to young Jesus—the same gifts that would be given to a ruler of a land.
We have no king on earth. We do have a Sovereign God whose Kin-dom we do pray will come on earth as it is in heaven. But, prayers on our lips must be prayers of our hands and feet. Some in the mob that gathered outside of Congress had signs, banners, and shirts that claimed Jesus, yet nothing in their actions reflected the Kin-dom of God. The late civil rights leader, Ella Baker, said, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.” We who believe in the light and love of Jesus Christ cannot rest until the Kin-dom comes—and love, hope, peace, and joy reign--on earth.
I leave you with a prayer written by St. Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.