Epiphany Letter, a Call for Prayer
January 6, 2021

Dear People of Christ Church,

Today is the feast of the Epiphany, where the Wise Men display to the world that its Savior is the Savior of everyone, not just a select few. Coming from a land far away without any Temple credentials or credentials of any kind, they knew that the grace of God applied to them just as it did to everyone else, from shepherds to charlatans to the King who would slaughter innocents.
Democracy is like that, too: a government by, of, and for the people, intended to dispense liberty and justice for all. 

Today, as a country, we temporarily failed at the notion that while we all have voices, our civic life is shared equally by the power of the Constitution and the rule of law. It is a hard day for the United States. All of you will have your own takes on the whys and whats and hows of this moment, as you should. There will be countless hours spent processing what this event means today and for our national future. As your Rector, and as a fellow Christian, I am inviting you to prayer and faith. 

I have included below an adaption from the Book of Common Prayer which you can use in your prayers tonight. Not only does our country need praying over, but each of us needs to pray to remind ourselves of our high ideals and dependence on God. We need to ask God to help us because without that help, all is vain. 

I also want to encourage you to have faith. While there will always be dark forces at work in the world, as our Epiphany story reminds us, in our country and in our day, we have to trust that as a nation we can get through this moment and that democracy will not be undone by the riotous few. We need to know that the good will of our fellow Americans, however divided we are at this time in history, will prevail now as it has through over 200 years of intermittent calamity. 

I have also included a poem by Jan Richardson which seems timely tonight. I hope you find it useful. I certainly did. 

If we had no pandemic, we would be gathering in our church home tomorrow for a service to pray for a more perfect union. In the days ahead, we will instead be bound in spirit as other Christian people have been, from time to time, throughout history. 

You have my love and my hope for peace, for each of us and for our beloved country.

Faithfully,

Christopher+
Adapted From the Collect For Sound Government (BCP p. 821)

O Lord our Governor, bless the leaders of our land, that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth.

To the President and members of the Cabinet, to Governors of States, to Mayors of Cities, and to all in administrative authority, grant wisdom and grace in the exercise of their duties.

To Senators and Representatives, and those who make our laws, give courage, wisdom, and foresight to provide for the needs of all our people, and to fulfill our obligations in the community of nations.

To the Judges and officers of our Courts give understanding and integrity, that human rights may be safeguarded and justice served.

And finally, teach our people to rely on your strength and to accept their responsibilities to their fellow citizens, that they may make wise decisions for the well-being of our society; that we may serve you faithfully in our generation and honor your holy Name.

For yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Amen.
Blessing When the World is Ending
 
Look, the world
is always ending
somewhere.
 
Somewhere
the sun has come
crashing down.
 
Somewhere
it has gone
completely dark.
 
Somewhere
it has ended
with the gun,
the knife,
the fist.
 
Somewhere
it has ended
with the slammed door,
the shattered hope.
 
Somewhere
it has ended
with the utter quiet
that follows the news
from the phone,
the television,
the hospital room.
 
Somewhere
it has ended
with a tenderness
that will break
your heart.
 
But, listen,
this blessing means
to be anything
but morose.
It has not come
to cause despair.
 
It is simply here
because there is nothing
a blessing
is better suited for
than an ending,
nothing that cries out more
for a blessing
than when a world
is falling apart.
 
This blessing
will not fix you,
will not mend you,
will not give you
false comfort;
it will not talk to you
about one door opening
when another one closes.
 
It will simply
sit itself beside you
among the shards
and gently turn your face
toward the direction
from which the light
will come,
gathering itself
about you
as the world begins
again.
 
Jan Richardson