The scenes from our nation's capital today are surreal, appalling, and unprecedented. In our Christian calendar today is the Feast of the Epiphany, the day the Magi arrived to be in the presence of the baby Jesus and for us then, the physical manifestation of Jesus to us all. There is no small irony that this chaos and unrest happen on this day. As Christians, it is in this reality, the reality of Jesus Christ, a real person, who lived on this earth, and who lived through such trying times, even while being born into it all, that we put our trust, our hope, and our future. I am urging you all to center yourselves on that.
If we have not come to the realization that this country is divided, and is dangerously close, if not already there, to losing our soul and character, I am deeply frightened for what it might take to get us to see it. We have entered a selfish, pampered, inconsiderate time based in falsehoods amidst a total lack of curiosity, and even disdain for, facts. We can't deal with problems and at the same time disregard one another. We cannot solve our divisions, without enough trust to speak to one another without violence or the threat of it.
Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, released a video just a few hours ago, which includes his prayers for this country and for us all. You can find that here. I encourage you to watch it, pray it, and then strive to, even in this hour, speak, act, and live into the Way of Love and not the Way of Division, Hate, and Fear. The Presiding Bishop also let the House of Bishops know that the Archbishop of Canterbury called him today to offer his prayers for us, and to assure the Presiding Bishop that the Primates of the Anglican Communion have been contacted as well and all have shared their prayers for us and with us. As I have found myself saying so many times in these past years, let us be, in our words, actions, and life, a reflection of the One we follow. In that Spirit and Way of Love is our hope, our strength, our foundation. In our God, and all our God asks of us, is our primary allegiance. I plead with you to live, in these days and in this time, in that way. I plead for this no matter what side of the current debates you land upon, no matter what your concerns or issues.
Blessings to you all,
A transcript of the statement follows:
Today is January the 6th, 2021. It is the Feast of the Epiphany. And on this particular day at this particular moment, even as our nation’s capital is being endangered and assaulted, we pray that the Lord Jesus Christ, we pray that God, in his Way of Love, might prevail in all of our hearts.
The events at our Capitol today are deeply disturbing. We believe the actions of armed protesters represent a coup attempt. We are a democracy, with long-standing institutional norms that must be honored, foremost among them, following the processes laid out in the Constitution and Federal statute to facilitate the peaceful and orderly transition of power.
Today’s protesters pushed through police barricades and forced their way into Congressional chambers, and the Capitol building are now threatened, and threatening the safety of lawmakers, their staff, and others who work in the Capitol complex. This threatens the integrity of our democracy. The national security of our nation, the continuity of government, and the lives and safety of our legislators, their staffs, law enforcement, and all who work in the Capitol.
I therefore ask you now to join me in prayer for our nation, praying first from the prayers that accompany Morning Prayer:
Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
Govern and uphold us now and always.
Day by day we bless you;
We praise your name forever.
Lord, keep us from sin today;
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
Lord, show us your love and mercy;
For we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope;
And we shall never hope in vain.
Let us pray:
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered together under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one God and Creator of us all; to whom be dominion and glory, now and forever.
Oh God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your son. Look now with compassion on the entire human family; and particularly this part of the family, in the United States, and those in our nation’s capital; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
On this day and at this moment, we pray for our nation. We ask God to heal us, to show us the way to healing, to show us the way to be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power and the glory,
forever and ever.
And now, may the peace of God which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The blessing of God Almighty the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be on you and on this nation and on the entire human family and all of creation this moment and forevermore.
On the web:
Epiphany 2021: A Call to Prayer for our Nation from Presiding Bishop Curry
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The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel is the VIII Bishop of Olympia, the Episcopal Church in Western Washington State. He has been the bishop here since September, 2007.