Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly
in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities
which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts
which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever, Amen.
~ The Collect for the Third Sunday in Lent (Year B)
Yesterday's violent tumult at our nation's Capitol took place on the Feast of the Epiphany, the day on which the Church celebrates the visitation of the magi ("wise men") to the child Jesus in Bethlehem. Epiphany also marks the revelation, or manifestation, of Christ to all the earth. I cannot help but marvel at the uncanny timing of this stark juxtaposition: the ugliest of human behavior, set against the backdrop of God's eternal Light.
As shocking and appalling as the images of yesterday's chaos are (and they are...), they serve as a poignant reminder of just how broken we humans really are. And I believe that this, ultimately, is good news - because it is only when we look at ourselves, honestly and humbly, that we can begin to do the difficult work of healing. To borrow language from the 12 Steps of recovery programs, we first need to admit our own powerlessness and then come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. If ever we needed to be restored to sanity, it is now.
The Collect appointed for the Third Sunday in Lent (above) states boldly and unashamedly that "we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves." It is only with God's help that we can even hope to get out of our own way. If anything, the events at the Capitol yesterday serve as a corrective to the misguided notion that we have no need of God.
Fortunately, the Feast of Epiphany is not just a one-off moment but rather is the beginning of the Season of Epiphany, the Season of Light, which lasts from now until Ash Wednesday. And if ever we needed to live into this season, it is now. In Epiphany we celebrate our identity as beloved children of God and disciples of Christ: As evil prowls around us "like a roaring lion" (1 Peter 5:8), we must claim that identity for ourselves as we never have before. To that end, I encourage you to explore the symbols and the stories of this season and make them your own. (For suggestions about observing Epiphany at home, please see the box below.)
As we continue to try to get our heads around the pervasive pain in our country, it also is incumbent on us to come together in prayer, solidarity, and mutual support. Please join me at 8 p.m. tonight on Zoom as I lead us in the short service of Compline, the ancient liturgy for the end of the day. (To participate in the service, please use this link; Meeting ID: 754 5686 5769.) Join us tomorrow afternoon for Friday Fellowship, or gather with your fellow parishioners on Saturday for Men's Group or Soul Sisters. Worship with us this Sunday at 10 a.m. as we renew our baptismal vows and recommit ourselves to our call as Christians. Light a candle and - with God's help - shine as the Light of Christ in our hurting world.
As always, I am only ever an email, text, or phone call away if you need to talk. Please remember that you are not going through these difficult days alone, and please stay safe. (For some additional resources for processing yesterday's events, please see the box below.)
Wishing you deep and abiding peace,