Dear Parishioners and Friends,
"Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way..." (BCP 820)
This is an excerpt from the prayer For Our Country, found in the Prayers and Thanksgivings section of the Book of Common Prayer. I have prayed this collect with some regularity throughout my ministry, but never in my time has it been so apropos to the moment. We find ourselves as Americans in an internal turmoil not known since the days of the Civil War, culminating with the largest attack on our nation's capitol building since it was destroyed by the British in 1814. Even during the ravages of the Civil War it remained intact, and President Lincoln ordered work on the great dome to continue as a sign and symbol of the hope for a unified country once the conflict had ceased.
Sadly, that hope of unity for which Mr. Lincoln worked tirelessly and for which he was assassinated has so far remained elusive. While he achieved the herculean goal of outlawing chattel slavery in this land, we saw all too clearly last week that the forces of white supremacy and even neo-Nazism are alive and well. More sadly still, it has come to light that some of the capitol marauders were people whom little children look to as heroes: peace officers and even an Olympic gold medalist. Perhaps saddest of all is that many who participated in the attack did so in the name of Jesus Christ. Still, we give thanks for the heroic efforts of those officers and others who fought to protect our democratic process, pray for those who were injured, and mourn the loss of those who died.
The time is now for the Episcopal Church and all people of good will to stand together in vocal opposition to the forces of evil. I join with our bishops in calling on all of us to live into our baptismal covenant by renouncing Satan and the forces of evil and sin, by proclaiming by word and example the good news of God in Christ, by serving Christ in others, and by respecting the dignity of every human being; all of which we can do only with God's help.
Let us pray fervently for peace in our time, for unity and brotherhood, and for God's blessing upon our great nation.