Thoughts from the first week of 2021

January 10, 2021

 I have decided to try to write a blog post on the weeks I am not preaching about what ever I am batting around in my head.  Here is the first installment of something I have not yet named.

Photo by Hogarth de la Plante 

            Lately, I have been thinking a lot about wounds, specifically the wounds of Mary and Jesus.  In the 2nd chapter of Luke, a prophet told Mary that a sword would pierce her soul.  We know that she was wounded emotionally just as Jesus was wounded physically.  Our nation has been wounded over and over since its very inception.  Yet the wounds of the past 12 months are fresh and deep.  And those wounds were apparent again on Wednesday as we witnessed the events unfold at the capitol.  It was particularly troubling because this violence occurred at the very seat of our democracy.  Many might contend that it was no worse than what has happened in the past.  I can’t be the judge of that.  But I can say that for me, it was bit of a breaking point.  It was the point when the division in our country felt less like a line in the sand and more like a chasm that we were all yelling across.  It feels like a wound that keeps reopening. 

I could pontificate about the causes of that wound, but I will leave that debate to superior minds and hearts.  What I would like to address is the healing.  I believe that healing is possible.  It won’t happen easily. We can’t just pretend this division doesn’t exist.  We also can’t ignore the causes, which are manifold.  Yet we can still resolve to overcome the differences. As Christians, we are called to rise above divisions—not to ignore them, but to rise above.  One of the most unique and powerful aspects of the Christian faith is we are a group that requires no common ground, except the ground at the foot of the cross.  We require no citizenship, but the citizenship of God’s kingdom.  We don’t have to agree to disagree because we don’t have to agree on anything except for the saving grace of Jesus Christ.         

While it might seem insurmountable, we can start small.  We can start in our homes and with our families.  We can start in our church which, like most, has a vast array of political opinions.  We can start in our city of Hampton whose diversity is both a strength and a challenge.  We can start with the relationships we have because those relationships are precious.  It’s so much easier during a pandemic, when we are cloistered in our homes, to focus on our differences.  But let us work to remember what binds us is not who we are, but who we belong to.  We are God’s children and God wants more from us than what we have seen over the last year.  Please pray with me. Pray frequently and fervently.  Pray in your words or the words of others.  I have found many of the prayers in our Book of Common Prayer particularly comforting.  I will leave you with this: O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us,in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.