*This will be available to be viewed on the Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church SLC YouTube channel. It follows the worship service on Jan. 10, 2021.
As I have done too many times this year, I am obligated address the brokenness that has devastated us this week. Forgive me for my late and most likely inadequate response, as it took me some time to order my thoughts coherently. We all watched as foundations of our national life together were violated in words and violent deeds. I will name this for what it is: a sickness. It’s a sickness that has been running rampant in our country not only in the past few years, but for over 400 years. It’s easy to trace how we have arrived at this moment, where we now watch horrified as the cancerous cells of white supremacy, nationalism and hate masquerading as religion burst through the healthy cells of our lives together to metastasize. We watched our president refuse to defend our nation, or the people, but only defend himself and his own interests. Make no mistake, this was a coup attempt. And make no mistake, how these white terrorists were treated by the policing agencies is very different than how those protesting on behalf of Black Lives Matter were treated. This is not up for debate. It’s power pure and simple. Power is always dangerous and this week we know now how dangerous unchecked power can be.
We mourn not only for our nation but for the lives lost to this senseless violence. We mourn for people harmed in body, mind or spirit. We mourn for us all. But we will not simply sit in sackcloth and ashes. We will take our tears and turn them into necessary actions of God’s love and God’s justice. You see, as God’s people, we know that conflating our egos, our pride and our religious notions only brings destruction. Jesus didn’t come to affirm self-aggrandizing religion, he came to bring life, abundant life to all people and all nations. This is who we are and must be in the world. If our religion is causing us to hate, sit idle, be comfortable and worry about ourselves, it’s not of God. Following Jesus means that we move, we go straight to the discomfort, the brokenness, even if we’re afraid. We go, because that’s where Jesus already is, and it’s where our neighbor is. We must amplify the voices of the too long silenced, we must speak truth to power, to not allow lies, cover-ups, or violence to overcome the light of Christ’s love in our community or our nation. We, as a white congregation, must do this.
Let me be clear, this nation is not now nor ever was a Christian nation. We are nation that comes together in our diversity to be one in the most radial way, in love and trust. We are stronger in this diversity and God smiles upon us. We come with our own perspective, but never with our own arrogance, agenda or might. We enter into our damaged and fragile relationships with hearts of humility and a longing for lasting peace.
We must come together, we must see the truth of who we are and what is happening, even if we don’t like what we see, maybe especially if we don’t like what we see. We must go forward and build a better way.
You are loved, you are beloved, go and be love. Amen.
Pastor Brigette Weier