A Pastoral message after the events of January 6, 2021
On a cold January day, the honor guard stood at attention at the back of the church at the funeral of fellow airman. Invited forward, they shared the sacred space, cradled the flag and led the grieving family forward and out of the church, while “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah” sang in the background.
The family watched for slippery spots as they assembled near the VFW gentlemen standing at attention.
With precision and reverence, the Honor Guard unfolded the flag as the gun salute began. Shell cases dropping to the ground, the symbol of freedom waving in the breeze and the crowd standing with respect. This gathering shouldered the burden of grief for a loved one and grief for the United States of America due to the events the day before.
The men and women who fought for this country, saw the unraveling of Democracy before their eyes. We all did. The Constitution upon which this country was founded upon was trampled upon along with the sacred grounds of the Capitol. The Capitol was last breached in the war of 1812, by a foreign invader and not by the citizens of the United States. This flagrant disrespect was the tip of the iceberg of contempt for our neighbors and fellow citizens. Hearts are grieving for America who did this to ourselves. What got us to this point?
The Christian Feast of Epiphany is the date this bleak moment in history occurred. The day when the wise men brought gifts to the newborn Christ-child and went home by another road. They chose a new way back to avoid Herod. Jesus was revealed to all the nations as the Messiah. This bleak day reveals something about us in the United States of America. We need to think about our rhetoric and how we contribute to such moments. We need to study, respect, and work toward strengthening our democracy. We need to go a different road. We need more kindness, inclusion, and to walk the talk of our Christian faith. We need Jesus Christ to come in and among us and work for healing and reconciliation.