As D.C. officers and the National Guard ready the streets of Washington and anticipate violent protests;
as calls are made for violence and for peace;
as elected officials sue and are sued in attempts to wrest control over our democratic republic;
as more and more people in our own spheres of influence receive their COVID-19 vaccinations and others who struggle with technology keep missing open slots;
as church consultants gear up for the ten things your church needs most in 2021;
as the nation watches Senate races in Georgia with great anticipation;
as racism and its ugly past in our nation is revealed to also be our present;
And as some in Congress prepare to certify the votes of our Electors as others prepare to oppose them. . . I offer a reminder:
Tomorrow is the Epiphany of the Lord. You may hear or see “January 6th” and all that floods your mind is what we’ve seen broadcast around the world concerning the joint session of Congress presided over by the Vice President. Yet, we should see “January 6th” this year and also think Epiphany, “revealed:” the day the infant named Jesus was revealed to the world. Tomorrow is a day in the life of the Church set aside to consider the gifts we bring to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace. It is a day to consider the bravery and wisdom of the Magi in listening to the Holy Spirit and thwarting King Herod, saving innocent lives and guarding the holy family. It is a day to give thanks for Mary and Joseph. It is a day to consider what it means for Jesus Christ to still be revealed to the world, and the role of the Church in this revelation.
It is also a day to consider the scriptures that the Church prescribes for reading and meditating upon for the day. So as you read on paper and online tomorrow about Antifa; Proud Boys; Georgia; Electors; Mike Pence; the Senate; Republicans; Democrats; disputes; corruption; the rule of law; and incoming and outgoing administrations, consider the Psalm set aside for tomorrow’s Epiphany.
The Psalm for this day is Psalm 72:
72:1 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son.
72:2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.
72:3 May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness.
72:4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.
72:5 May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
72:6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.
72:7 In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
72:10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts.
72:11 May all kings fall down before him, all nations give him service.
72:12 For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper.
72:13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.
72:14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
May tomorrow be a day when the poor have justice, the needy are redeemed from oppression, and the weak are redeemed from violence.
We hope for this with the confidence of the psalmist who says
“He delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper.”Psalm 72:12
From oppression and violence may we be delivered, and may the blood of all persons be precious in the sight of those who lead us.
As many look to the Church for our response to unrest in the nation, remember your three-fold calling:
- The Great Commission, The Evangelical Gospel: Baptize, teaching Christ’s commands, and affirming Jesus is with us until the end of the age
- The Prophetic Fulfilment, The Social Gospel: Proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, set at liberty those who are oppressed, and announce the Year of Jubilee
- The New Commandment, The Love of Christ: love one another as I have loved you. By this they will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.