I’m still a bit numb from yesterday, how about you? What began as a day in which I was focusing on the Feast of the Epiphany and working on some spiritual formation curriculum became a time of staring, dumbfounded at the news reports of our capitol building being besieged.
At one point my husband said, “this happens in third world countries, not here.” And I agreed. And then I thought, we shouldn’t insult third world countries like that. When people rise up against their sitting government, it is generally because of atrocious violations of basic human rights. The people who stormed our capitol weren’t looking to overthrow a corrupt government. They wanted to upend the legal process which keeps our government in checks and balances and honors the voice of the people who duly elected the government (yes, I know our system doesn’t work perfectly but it does work and there are non-violent and legal paths to change if we want to change it).
These were people throwing a violent tantrum because the results weren’t what they wanted. They followed the direction of a narcissist who can’t bear the thought of giving up control so he’s narrating a false reality and inciting his followers to violence. And just to be clear, anyone who preaches hate and violence and follows someone who does is not following Jesus, regardless of what they write on the signs they hold up while committing hateful and violent acts.
These are the same people who mocked the other side in 2016 as they voiced their sadness and despair over the election results when Mr. Trump won calling them snowflakes and worse.
The people who attacked a building and human beings and our very system of government yesterday aren’t fighting for human rights. They are demanding privilege and violently seeking to take away equal rights for every human being, encouraged by a man who continues to speak hate and encourage violence toward others.
This morning, as I sat in prayer, I prayed for God to increase my own compassion because I’m not feeling very compassionate toward these people. They must be held accountable, they must face the consequences of their actions. Mr. Trump must be held accountable and face the consequences of his actions.
And in my cry for accountability, I find the compassion. Compassion enables us to seek the best FOR and the best OF others.
I know the hate and anger comes from a place of human brokenness and I pray for the softening of their hearts. AND I know that their words and actions cause great harm and I pray for those who have been belittled and degraded by their hate, for those physically assaulted by their actions, and the emotional wounds of all of us who watched in shock yesterday.
Last evening, in our first conversation of HOPE through the season of Epiphany (https://www.facebook.com/OdessaEpiscopal/videos/872539536831311/), Padre Ricardo and I talked about the certainty of our Christian Hope. In this sure and certain hope we know that God can and will redeem the events of yesterday and that God will do this through the behaviors and actions of those of us who work to see the world through a lens of compassion as Jesus teaches us to do. In our compassion we seek the best for and the best of everyone, starting with ourselves.
Every day is a new day in God’s Kingdom and God invites us to participate in the answer to the prayer “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s will is for love to ground and guide us and in that love is our sure and certain hope that together with God we can learn from yesterday to live more like Jesus today.
What can you do today to show the world God’s compassion and love?