From the Pastor:

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
  and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
 and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
  and sustain in me a willing spirit.


At the time of this writing the na­tion is holding its breath to see what will happen on January 20 during the inauguration of our new, duly-elected president and vice-president after witness­ing a mob invade the Capitol and threaten our lawmakers. The incident has brought us to a deep awareness of the depth of the divides in our country.

Most disturbing to me was the whiteness of the partici­pants and the number of them that claimed to be “Christian.” I wonder if Jesus would have recognized the man beating a Capitol police officer with a pole to which was attached an American flag as one of his disciples? Given the story we have of Jesus’ reaction when Peter cut off the ear of one of the men who came to arrest Jesus in the Garden, I wonder.

Our nation is hurting right now and in desperate need of healing and we are called to be agents of that healing. It is a huge task and, in many ways, a dangerous one. The human desire for revenge runs deep, as does our fear of the “other.” People will not want to hear the command to “love your neigh­bor” or “pray for your enemy.” Yet that is the gospel we are called to voice. Folks may be tempted to “shoot the messenger.”

In all of this, we must remember to whom we owe our pri­mary loyalty. It is not to a public person, a political party, or even a nation. It is to God who came to us in the person of Jesus Christ. We are called to be “in Christ,” which means to be as much like Jesus as we can be, to let his mind ruler our actions. Jesus spent his entire ministry reaching out to bring hope and healing to those around him. He forgave his ene­mies. Let us do the same. Let us pray:

Dear and gracious God, help us to be your people by promoting listening instead of criticizing, by asking, “Why do you feel or think that?” instead of arguing, by forgiving instead of damning. Help us to be agents of healing the divisions of our nation. Let the mind of Christ be truly in us. Amen.

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