“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations
I am exalted in the earth Psalm 46:10
For most of us the events unfolding in Washington during the last week have been frightening and upsetting. A violent assault of the capitol by our own countrymen is unknown to us and to our way of life as Americans. Americans honor and take pride in our tradition of an orderly and peaceful transition in administrations. The election of 2020 and its aftermath have, regrettably, not eventuated in such a transition. The violence, hatred and frank intention to overthrow the government on the part of some participants has startled us as a nation. As Christians we have an obligation both to pray and live in ways that help provide for healing and a better future for all of us.
In Psalm 46, the psalmist is lamenting a time of national turmoil and finally takes comfort in God’s assertion to “be still and know that I am God”. In our national moment I too take great comfort in this text and believe it is an important beginning point for us in our response to the troubling events around us. In humility let us acknowledge our own helplessness. Let us quiet our own analysis, our condemnation of others and our own prescriptions for what should happen next and instead yield to God’s omnipotence and faithfulness. Let us first be still – quiet and reflective. From that place of humility we are much better positioned to pray in ways that uphold all people and confess our shortcomings as a nation that have brought us to this point.
In the days ahead we will face more trials as a people. As faithful Christians we can each contribute to a positive atmosphere and proactively seek unity even with those with whom we disagree politically. In our congregation, and all congregations, there are always a variety of political opinions. Yet, in most settings we move past such differences to seek a deeper unity of faith and purpose . So too, in our country as a whole let us find the patience and forbearance to seek the common good beyond partisan interests. In short, let us be still, knowing that God is God. Let us pray for our nation in the same way we have long sung, “America, America, God mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul in self-control, in liberty and law”.
May the God who has so richly blessed this land and this people once again be exalted among us and shed the holy, abiding and healing grace upon us all.
Yours for the journey,