So, right now, I’m supposed to be drafting a script and recording some Confirmation videos… I can’t really concentrate at the moment, though, because my ear keeps catching snippets from the breaking news at Capitol Hill. I’ve given up on accomplishing this particular task today—maybe I’ll get those videos done tomorrow? Honestly, I don’t feel like doing anything except hug my wife, snuggle my dogs, and watch the news. I just want to curl up in my ball of confusion, fatigue, anguish, and adrenaline. Even now, I’ve spent fifteen minutes staring at the last sentence I typed, unsure of how to continue and regularly distracted by the images and sounds of our national capitol.
Clearly, I’ve reached the limit of my productivity limits—I am, after all, just a human being and US Citizen who is also terrified by the mob encroaching not only on a building but on democracy itself. Even as broken as our democracy can sometimes be, I feel a constriction in my body and bubbling in my heart that I’ve only ever felt before when reading about George Floyd and other breaches of life. My body’s reaction to these images and sounds tells me that this is effecting me in serious and real ways.
I wonder, have you felt this constriction, as well? What are you feeling as you watch the breaking news from Washington?
In wondering how I might serve you as your pastor, right now in the midst of all of this craziness—having never encountered anything like this before, I worry that I don’t possess the tools necessary to calm your nerves, appease anxiety, or slate your spirits. We have entered into a brokenness that can only be healed by communal effort and support. Let us be for each other the support that we need, the soft and gentle shoulders to cry on, and a voice crying out for peace and grace.
As you gather with your families tonight, or fervently watch the news, or share voice with friends and loved ones on the phone or computer, I pray that you might feel God’s real presence by your side, a presence pulling us towards something better and something good. Hold onto that divine presence, who lives in your body and your mind, hold onto that God that dwells inside you. Hold and grow that divine pull towards goodness—together we can embody love and peace to counter the chaos at Capitol Hill.
As much as your pastors would like to do so, we cannot receive the brokenness you feel. We are not here to minimize or ignore the pain you’re feeling, nor will we encourage you to pretend this isn’t happening. Instead, I’m going to encourage you:
Allow yourself to acknowledge the constriction, the pain, the fear, the sadness, the brokenness you feel in this moment. This pain is as real as you are real. I do not minimize this pain—that is not the role of prayer. In prayer, we will share this pain with God and implore an infusion of love and healing to take hold in your body as well. You and your pain are not alone—though sometimes difficult to feel or find, God and divine hope also dwell in your body, closer than your life-beating heart.
Allow that goodness to fill you, to strengthen the beats of your blood, to fill your lungs with strong life, to focus your pupils, to pause your restlessness. Recognize the goodness inside you. Recognize the goodness that you are—you are made and loved by God, who calls you good and beloved. Enjoy this goodness, and allow it equal foot in your body alongside the very real pain you feel right now.
Prepared as we are, equipped with both our pain and our hope, let us pray:
God, we come to you confused, anguished, and fearful. As we watch the seat of our democratic government invaded, by weapons of both physical and systemic violence, we call upon your Holy Spirit’s power to effect healing and rest in a country so overwrought by confusion and hate. Settle our bodies, metabolize our trauma, and strengthen the bonds that unite us as your children. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, the one who braved brokenness to heal us all, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever, amen.