A Letter from Our Conference Minister
Yesterday afternoon the very foundations of our Democracy were challenged as rioters stormed into the Capital Building, destroying property, desecrating the safety and sanctity of our nation’s “house of the people,” sending our elected representatives into hiding and upsetting the work of our republic. I was heartbroken and appalled. Never in my wildest imagination would I have expected this type of insurrection in our nation, a nation which has had peaceful transitions of power since its founding.
Many of you know that I have protested for justice and against injustices in many venues – New York City, Washington DC, Allentown – all peaceful and orderly first amendment demonstrations. This, yesterday afternoon’s mob, was something I never could have imagined. I am grateful that more people were not injured or killed. That this riot happened is more than I can fathom.
Some pastors and I gathered for prayer yesterday afternoon at 4:45 in a hastily called gathering. (The Prayers for Our Country YouTube is available below for all of you to view) As we gathered, we prayed for peace, for kindness, for justice to prevail. The fall out of these illegal actions by those who claim to be patriots will scar the nation and our hearts for many years to come. Senator Chuck Schumer stated on the floor of the Senate: "It is very, very difficult to put into words what has transpired today. I have never lived through or even imagined the experience like the one we have just witnessed in this capital. President Franklin Roosevelt set aside December 7, 1941 as a day that will live in infamy, unfortunately we can now add January 6, 2021 to that very short list of dates in American history that will live forever in infamy."
I know that my role as Conference Minister is to profess our faith and not political opinions and yet, our faith is freely practiced in this country because of our democratic process and structure of our government. To usurp the democratic process is an attack on our freedom of religion and our faith practices. We are called, as people of faith, to respond to violence with calls for justice and peace, for reconciliation and compassion, and for an understanding of the need to respect our neighbors, all our neighbors. This does not mean we are expected to condone violence or the riots we saw yesterday. Rather, we are called to speak out for justice. Yesterday during our prayer vigil two scriptures were shared, which I now share with you:
Amos 5:24 (NIV) “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
Micah 6:8 (NIV) “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
This is our call from the prophets. I add one more scripture today.
Galatians 5:22 (NRSV) “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.”
Please, my friends, pray for peace. Pray for reconciliation. Pray for justice. Pray the Holy Spirit bless us with the gifts of the Spirit so we can make a difference in this divided and pain-filled nation.