On the day after the Inauguration of President Trump, I watched the prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral (its official name, by the way, is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul) and did not feel pride in being and Episcopalian.
Pride, of course, is a deadly sin, and it goes before the fall, but nevertheless, I felt empty and disconnected. I have never felt that way ever before in my life under these circumstances. Regardless of whoever was elected President, I have always felt connected to my faith through the beauty and grandeur of the Cathedral and a citizen of a country with a moral standard and expressed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. But, this time I felt numb and distant.
Then, as I read in Peter’s First Letter to the Church, stirring words that changed my view. I was struck down into my soul by the words of Peter as he instructed the Church, “[L]ove one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:22b-23).
I have been upset that officials of our Church, from the Presiding Bishop to the Dean of the Cathedral would allow a person who has demeaned so many, said Jail his political opponent, and people by accident of birth are inferior. Nevertheless, our Church, the Episcopal Church, offered itself in love to the nation and gave its sacred space to a new regime that does not, seemingly, respect sacred spaces or the rights of others to live in human dignity. Of course, I may be wrong, totally wrong, about my observations of what has happened to us this winter. And, I pray that I am wrong, but all that aside, it is the love of Christ displayed by the Episcopal Church that matters and I hope will be the beacon of Christ’s love to the world.
Peter directs that we are to love one another deeply from the heart. That’s the real and only mandate we have. There is no other mandate. We may not like something, we may find some things utterly disgusting, but down deep we must love.
Last week many Episcopalians renewed Baptismal Vows, and in that renewal, promised that to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being; this is “loving deeply.” We are in this world and must work to assure our progeny that they will have a peaceful life, living in liberty, where justice is equally administered. To love deeply means that we love the earth and protect it from abuse so that our progeny will be living in a wholesome place with clean air, productive soil, and the oceans stay within their boundaries.
We are in this world and must work to assure our progeny that they will have a peaceful life, living in liberty, where justice is equally administered. To love deeply means that we love the earth and protect it from abuse so that our progeny will be living in a wholesome place with clean air, productive soil, and the oceans stay within their boundaries.
Also, we must remember that we have been born anew through the life, teachings, sacrifice, and victory of Christ Jesus over injustice. Only we, as citizens and followers of Jesus, can assure that justice is equally administered, so that greed does ravage the earth and that protections of the Constitution are fully employed. We as Christians and citizens have a duty to assure that no one is condemned to live in poverty. We have an obligation to ensure that the ill are cared for and made whole. We have a duty in that deeply felt love to assure that all live in the dignity of self all the way to the grave.
So, despite my despair for the future of our country, I am renewed in a new hope of love that will eventually make a difference. The difference will be that we love deeply and that we are a renewed people in Jesus Christ. In that existence, we can be free to speak back to power, to speak up for the oppressed, and care for those in need. We are a people of love, that is unconditional love, and we do not require the world to love us back. But in that love, we must not be cowed into submission or agreeing that power is good, or greed is good, only God is good and God is love.