A Pastoral Message at the Start of Lent 2021
One of my spiritual practices is to do a slow read of the Bible each day. In January I started reading[...]
In our minds, there are a flood of images of our U.S. Capitol and the surrounding Mall. There are poignant, life-changing speeches offered by giants like Martin Luther King, Jr; peaceful protests of hundreds of thousands of citizens, championing many issues of urgent concern; state funeral processions; and the dignified inauguration of presidents.
Now, the violent mob action on January 6 is embedded among those memories. There is no justification for the white supremacy, the bitter resistance to the peaceful transition of presidential power, and the odd mix of religiosity and national idolatry that fueled that assault on the seat of legislative power in this democracy. It was wrong, hateful, and a sobering reminder that democracy is not a given but a living political reality, which we renegotiate with each election.
I am grateful for the many public leaders in Minnesota, who work daily to ensure that our state capitol remains a place for fair debate, good governance and for public rallies. Governor Tim Walz models this firm commitment to public safety and respect for divergent political perspectives in these very challenging times in an exemplary way. We pray for our state elected leaders in our weekly synod staff meeting and I hope you pray for all of them, too. The fabric of democracy, which we often take for granted, is an immeasurable gift for the ease of our daily life.
Tomorrow, we will witness the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. As our eyes turn to them in this historic moment, may we also look inward at the values, commitments, and actions that show the character of our own lives. The rebuilding of this nation, torn apart by rancor and under grave threat from the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racism, rests not only on the shoulders of these new leaders. It rests on the resolve and deliberate actions of each one of us.
I invite you to join me in prayer at mid-day on January 20, as we inaugurate the 46th President of the United States. Here is a prayer to prompt your own petitions.
God of all creation, we ask your blessing upon this country, which we call our home on earth. Keep our new president, Joe Biden, and vice-president, Kamala Harris, in safety and allow them to flourish in the term of their leadership. Help all of us to live with respect for our neighbors, a commitment to justice and equity, and a love for all the peoples of your vast world. We pray in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. AMEN.
I thank you, too, for the care and concern with which so many of you have voiced a renewed commitment to working for the common good and the rebuilding of this nation. It matters. Your efforts matter.
Yours in God’s service,
Bishop Patricia Lull