Episcopal Diocese of Washington

To draw people to Jesus and embody his love
for the world by equipping faith communities,
promoting spiritual growth, and striving for justice

Bishop's Writings

What it Means to Pray for Healing, Unity and Hope

November 08, 2020

Bishop Mariann preached this sermon at St. Stephen and the Incarnation, DC, on November 8, 2020.

Jesus said, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” 
Matthew 25:1-13

I’m grateful for the opportunity to worship with you. St. Stephen’s. I’ve spent considerable time with your leaders in recent months and many of you joined the vestry conversations as you discern your forward as a faith community. It’s a gift to place that discerning work--which is not always easy--in the context of prayer and our common desire to draw closer to Christ and embody his love for the world. Thanks to Father Sam and all SSI leaders for all that you’re doing to guide the people of your community through this strange and stressful time. You are in my daily prayers; you are close to my heart. 

St. Stephen’s and the Incarnation is as close to a mission congregation as we have in the diocese of Washington, for a number of reasons, most notably the financial partnership between the Diocese and the congregation, and the fact that for many years the congregation has chosen not to have a rector as priest. I know that the vestry’s decision this year to begin the journey to that normative leadership structure has been a controversial one for a variety of legitimate reasons, and true to SSI, there are strong opinions on how best to proceed, or not proceed with that decision, particularly in light of how the pandemic has placed so many challenges on all of us. I understand that. My hope is that, in time, there will be sufficient consensus among the leadership--and the congregation as a whole--to walk together toward a common future. 

I mention all of this because it occurred to me as I was reflecting on where we are as a nation in the waiting period for the outcome of our national election, that there are parallels between what we’re experiencing as a society and how we relate to one another in faith communities and in our households and families. 

I was tasked with preaching from Washington National Cathedral the day after the election. The theme for the service had already been set. It was to be a Service for Healing, Unity and Hope--all good post-election day things to talk about. But what on earth did those words--Healing, Unity and Hope--mean given what we’ve learned and are learning about ourselves and our leaders this week? 

This I know, from personal experience, about the healing process: if your body sustains a deep wound, and a scab or thin layer of skin forms on the surface, it can look as if healing is taking place. But if the connective tissue underneath the skin doesn’t come together in its own process, that part of the wound can get infected and grow worse. Though the deeper wound is hidden for a time underneath the scab or skin, it’s not healing at all. So as we pray for healing in our nation, we do well to remember that there is little to be gained and, in fact, much harm to be done if we tend too quickly to the surface of things while ignoring the wounds underneath. The same is true for you as a congregation.

This is what I know about unity: that it often comes at the expense of those whose inclusion is too costly for the dominant group. This is as true on the playground and in family relationships as it is in the wider society. Then that exclusion is often forgotten by those who have settled for what the prophet Isaiah called “peace when there is no peace.”  

We don’t have to look far for examples from our history. After the Civil War and the political whiplash of a white supremacist becoming president after the assassination of presdient Lincoln followed by a president committed to Reconstruction of the South and real liberties for those formerly enslaved, followed by a series of leaders in the South committed to dismantling all the gains blacks had made and Northerners more than happy to look the other way, there was a constant drumbeat for national unity between North and South. Monuments all over the country were erected, stained glass windows in Washington National Cathedral installed, all in the service of unity between whites. We know who was excluded from that unity, from the ideals of democracy and liberty and justice for all. Some of the most shameful events of our history--many of which were suppressed from our collective memory--come from that time, and from the impulse for unity along racial lines. So as we pray for unity, may we remember that the kind of unity worthy of the Kingdom of God and represented in the mosaic of this nation is not one that will come by exclusion, but with the hard work of reconciling. 

Reconciliation and inclusion doesn’t mean that everybody gets what they want. In fact the kind of reconciliation and inclusion that Jesus points us toward is rooted in sacrificial love and a genuine desire for what is best, even if it’s not what any one of us personally desire. The older we are, the more this is true--our task as elders is to make space, make a place for those coming up behind us, listening hard to their concerns, their needs. Unity is rooted in love. 

Finally, this I know about hope. It isn’t something we need to manufacture. It is God’s gift. Hope ofen rises from despair. It can stir our hearts even when we have reason to give up. I wish I could tell you how this happens; I only know that it does. Hope resists platitudes or wishful thinking. It allows for grief and all its manifestations. It never chastises us for being exhausted and worried. It doesn’t ask us to pretend that everything is going to be okay when we don’t know if that’s true, at least in the short term. 

But what hope does is help us rise again, not from our strength, but from the strength that comes to us from the deepest wells of the human spirit, where God’s divine spirit meets us. 

Now there is a cost to this hope, and we do have to choose it, because it refuses to deny the reality of suffering. You may have heard a refrain from St. Paul on the importance of suffering. He writes that we need to embrace suffering, for suffering is what produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope--and this hope does not disappoint because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Romans. 5:1-5) The source of our hope is the amazing love of God. 

So how are we to live? Jesus told a parable about wise and foolish bridesmaids, the difference between wisdom and foolishness being preparation, foresight, living now with a vision for what may be needed later on. Attentiveness. Mindfulness--how we could use that now. 

In one of the chapters of PB’s new book, Love is the Way: Holding onto Hope in Troubling Times, wonderfully entitled, “What Dolly Parton and Desmond Tutu Have in Common,” Curry also reminds us of the power of dreams, and how living by our our dreams requires strength perseverance whenever we bump up against the crucible steel hardships of life. As an example of what that strength and perseverance looks like, he cites what was known in the Civil Rights Movement as the “Ten Commandments of Nonviolence.” They were part of the training Dr. King and others required of all those taking part in “the movement”--the nonviolent movement for the freedom they all longed for.    

  • Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
  • Remember always that the non-violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation--not victory.
  • Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
  • Pray daily to be used by God in order that all might be free.
  • Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all might be free.
  • Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
  • Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
  • Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
  • Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.1

What would the world look like if even a percentage of Christians committed to these things now? What would Washington, DC look like? What would the Diocese of Washington look like? What would St. Stephen’s and the Incarnation look like? What would my family and yours look like? 

When we do these things--always imperfectly, for we are not perfect--we become more like Jesus. We sound more like Jesus. And some of his light shines through us. No matter what happens, what lies in store, surely that would be a wonderful thing--our offering of love and justice for those around us. 

~~~
1 Michael Curry, Love is the Way: Holding onto Hope in Troubling Times (New York: Avery Books, 2020), pp. 92-94.

 

Bishop Budde and Dean Hollerith Statement on the National Election

November 07, 2020

A statement from The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral:

The votes have been cast, the vast majority have been counted and the people of America have spoken. It now appears clear that Joe Biden will become the nation’s 46th president, and we will begin anew the work of repairing the frayed fabric of our common life. 

To President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris, we offer our prayers for wisdom, grace and the certain knowledge of God’s presence in the difficult work ahead. To President Trump and Vice President Pence, we give our thanks for their service to our nation, and prayers for God’s guidance as they lay down the powers of their office. 

That we are a bruised and divided nation is not news. Yet only together can we meet the enormous challenges before us. All Americans, and particularly our leaders, must put the healing of the nation above partisan loyalties. 

As Christians, we believe that we are not alone in this endeavor. St. Paul reminds us that we will see God among us when we exhibit what he called the evidence of the Holy Spirit: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

As Americans, as we encounter those who may have cast different ballots, may we seek an extra measure of grace and compassion. Neither partisan triumphalism nor ideological defeatism will aid us in the hard work ahead.

This is a time to draw upon what President Lincoln described as “the better angels of our nature,” and to take to heart the words he spoke in his Second Inaugural Address: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

We pray for this nation and for our leaders. We pray for patience and endurance. We pray that as we move forward, no one is left behind. We pray that in all we do, may we be guided by the prophet’s call to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. 

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; 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.


Thoughts on Healing, Unity and Hope

November 05, 2020

'You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.'  
Matthew 5:13-16

The title of Washington National Cathedral’s noonday service for the day after the election was: A Service for Healing, Unity, and Hope. I wasn’t sure what light I had to shine, and so I turned my gaze to Jesus and his light. 

This is what I know about the healing process: if your body sustains a deep wound, and it scabs on the surface, it can look as if healing is taking place. But if the connective tissue underneath the skin doesn’t come together, that part of the wound often gets infected and grows worse, hidden from view. So as we pray for healing in our nation, we do well to remember that there is little to be gained and, in fact, much harm to be done, if we tend too quickly to the surface of things while ignoring the wounds underneath. The deep divisions of our nation have been once again revealed. Deep healing is what’s needed. 

This is what I know about unity: what we call unity often comes at the expense of those whose inclusion is too costly. This is as true on the playground and in family relationships as it is in the wider society. That exclusion is then forgotten by those who have settled for what the prophet Isaiah called “peace when there is no peace.”  

We don’t have to look far for examples from our history. After the Civil War and the political whiplash of the subsequent decades, there was a strong desire for national unity. Monuments were erected across the country and stained glass windows installed in churches, all in service of unity between North and South. Blacks were excluded from that unity. Some of the most shameful events of our history--lynching, Jim Crow segregation, voter suppression--took root in that period and we have erased the worst from our collective memory. Thus as we pray for unity, may we remember that the kind of unity worthy of the Kingdom of God and represented in the mosaic of this nation is not one that can come by exclusion, but by reconciliation. 

And this I know about hope: it isn’t something we need to manufacture, for it is God’s gift. Hope often rises from despair. Hope can stir our hearts, even when we have reason to give up. It resists platitudes and wishful thinking. Hope allows for grief. It never chastises us for being exhausted and worried, and hope doesn’t ask us to pretend that everything is going to be okay when we don’t know if that’s true, at least in the short term. 

But what hope does--and thank God for it--is help us to rise again, not from our strength, but from the strength that comes to us from the deepest wells of the human spirit, where God’s divine spirit meets us. It’s the most amazing thing.  

There is a cost to this hope, and we have to choose it, because it refuses to deny the reality of suffering. St. Paul writes this about the importance of suffering, “for suffering is what produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope--and this hope does not disappoint because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:1-5) The source of our hope is the wondrous, limitless love of God. 

In Love is the Way: Holding onto Hope in Troubling Times, Presiding Bishop Curry reminds us of the “Ten Commandments of Nonviolence.” They were part of the training for all those taking part in the nonviolent struggle for Civil Rights in the 1950-60s. Curry asks us to imagine a world in which even a percentage of Christians committed to these things: 

  • Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
  • Remember always that the non-violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation -- not victory.
  • Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
  • Pray daily to be used by God in order that all might be free.
  • Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all might be free.
  • Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
  • Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
  • Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
  • Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

If we do those things, surely the light of Jesus will shine through us, and we will bring hope for deep healing in our land and the kind of reconciliation that can lead to unity. 

May it be so. 

 

Pensamientos sobre la Sanación, la Unidad y la Esperanza

November 05, 2020

Ustedes son la luz del mundo. Una ciudad asentada sobre un monte no se puede esconder. Tampoco se enciende una lámpara y se pone debajo de un cajón, sino sobre el candelero, para que alumbre a todos los que están en casa. De la misma manera, que la luz de ustedes alumbre delante de todos, para que todos vean sus buenas obras y glorifiquen a su Padre, que está en los cielos.
Mateo 5:13-16

El título del servicio del mediodía de la Catedral Nacional de Washington para el día después de las elecciones fue: Un Servicio de Sanación, Unidad y Esperanza. No estaba segura qué luz tenía yo que hacer brillar, así que volví mi mirada a Jesús y a su luz.

Esto es lo que sé sobre el proceso de sanación: si su cuerpo sufre una herida profunda, y se hace una postilla en la superficie, puede parecer que la curación está teniendo lugar. Pero si el tejido conectivo debajo de la piel no se une, esa parte de la herida a menudo se infecta y empeora, sin que podamos verlo. Así que mientras oramos por la sanidad en nuestra nación, hacemos bien en recordar que hay poco que ganar y, de hecho, mucho daño que hacer, si tendemos demasiado rápido a la superficie de las cosas mientras ignoramos las heridas debajo. Las profundas divisiones de nuestra nación han sido reveladas una vez más. Lo que se necesita es una sanación profunda.

Esto es lo que sé sobre la unidad: Lo que llamamos unidad a menudo viene a expensas de aquellos cuya inclusión es demasiado costosa. Esto es tan cierto en el campo de juego y en las relaciones familiares como lo es en la sociedad en general. Esa exclusión es olvidada entonces por aquellos que confían en lo que el profeta Isaías llamó "paz cuando no hay paz".

No tenemos que buscar ejemplos muy lejos en nuestra historia. Después de la Guerra Civil y el latigazo político de las décadas siguientes, hubo un fuerte deseo de unidad nacional. Se erigieron monumentos en todo el país y vitrales en las iglesias, todo al servicio de la unidad entre el norte y el sur. Los negros fueron excluidos de esa unidad. Algunos de los acontecimientos más vergonzosos de nuestra historia (linchamiento, segregación de Jim Crow, supresión de votantes) se arraigaron en ese período, aunque lo hemos borrado lo peor de nuestra memoria colectiva. Así, mientras oramos por la unidad, recordemos que el tipo de unidad digna del Reino de Dios y representada en el mosaico de esta nación no es aquella que puede venir por exclusión, sino por la reconciliación.

Y esto es lo que sé sobre la esperanza: No es algo que necesitamos fabricar, porque es el don de Dios. La esperanza a menudo se levanta de la desesperación. La esperanza puede revolver nuestros corazones, incluso cuando tenemos razones para renunciar. Resiste a las multitudes y al pensamiento de las ilusiones. La esperanza permite el dolor. Nunca nos castiga por estar agotados y preocupados, y la esperanza no nos pide fingir que todo va a estar bien cuando no sabemos si eso es cierto, al menos a corto plazo.

Pero lo que la esperanza hace (y gracias a Dios por ella) es ayudarnos a levantarnos de nuevo, no por nuestra propia fuerza, sino por la fuerza que nos viene de los pozos más profundos del espíritu humano, donde el espíritu divino de Dios nos encuentra. Es lo más increíble.

Hay un costo para esta esperanza, y tenemos que elegirla, porque rehúsa negar la realidad del sufrimiento. San Pablo escribe esto sobre la importancia del sufrimiento, "porque el sufrimiento es lo que produce resistencia, y la resistencia produce carácter, y el carácter produce esperanza-- Y esta esperanza no decepciona porque el amor de Dios ha sido derramado en nuestros corazones por medio del Espíritu Santo que nos ha sido dado" (Romanos 5:1-5), la fuente de nuestra esperanza es el amor maravilloso e ilimitado de Dios.

En El Amor es el Camino: Aferrándose a la esperanza en tiempos difíciles, el Obispo Presidente Curry nos recuerda los "Diez Mandamientos de la No Violencia". Ellos fueron parte del entrenamiento para todos aquellos que participaron en la lucha no violenta por los Derechos Civiles en los años 1950-60. Curry nos pide imaginar un mundo en el que incluso un porcentaje de cristianos se comprometieron a estas cosas:

  • Meditar diariamente en las enseñanzas y la vida de Jesús. 
  • Recordar siempre que el movimiento no violento busca justicia y reconciliación -- no victoria. 
  • Caminar y hablar en la manera del amor, porque Dios es amor. 
  • Orar diariamente para que Dios lo use para que todos puedan ser libres. 
  • Sacrificar los deseos personales para que todos sean libres.
  • Observar con amigos y enemigos las reglas ordinarias de cortesía. 
  • Procura realizar un servicio regular para los demás y para el mundo.
  • Frenar la violencia del puño, la lengua o el corazón. 
  • Esforzarse a estar en buena salud espiritual y corporal.

Si hacemos esas cosas, seguramente la luz de Jesús brillará a través de nosotros, y traeremos esperanza de sanación profunda en nuestra tierra y el tipo de reconciliación que puede conducir a la unidad. 

Tal vez sea así.

 

What it Means to Pray for Healing, Unity and Hope

November 04, 2020

Bishop Mariann preached this homily at the Service of Healing, Unity, and Hope at Washington National Cathedral.

You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. 
Matthew 5:13-16

In his most recent book, Love is the Way: Holding onto Hope in Troubling Times, the Presiding Bishop has a chapter that you’re drawn to read by the title alone: “What Desmond Tutu and Dolly Parton Have in Common.” The short answer is their dreams. He quotes Dolly Parton tell of the dreams that helped her rise from crushing poverty in Appalachia. Desmond Tutu dedicated most of his life to holding onto the dream that one day his native South Africa would be free from the evil of apartheid.1

Lest you think the chapter then falls into platitudes about dreams, Bishop Curry pivots to events in his own life, and in particular, what happened in the years 1967-68. He was a teenager. 1967 was the year his mother died. 1968 was the year his two heros died: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. What held him together in those years was the example of his father and of the Black Church, and this sense from those around him that you just keep going in the face of struggle. You don’t give up. Most importantly, for all in his world, Jesus wasn’t somewhere up in the sky. Jesus was right there, in the struggle with them. 

Curry’s point throughout this chapter comes in the form of a gentle exhortation: if you’re going to live by your dreams, be prepared to go deep, and to live deeply, and to face the despair of disappointment when you bump up against the crucible steel of life. But when you do, he writes, trust that hope will see you through. Curry then cites the “Ten Commandments of Non Violence” that was part of the essential teaching and training for those involved with King in the Civil Rights Movement.2

Here are the first nine: 

  • Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
  • Remember always that the non-violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation - not victory.
  • Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
  • Pray daily to be used by God in order that all might be free.
  • Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all might be free.
  • Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
  • Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
  • Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
  • Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

We are in this for the long haul, and if we’re going to live and walk in the love of Jesus we need to have clarity about what that means. 

We gather today in prayer for healing, for unity, and for hope.

This I know, from personal experience, about the healing process: if your body sustains a deep wound, and a scab or thin layer of skin forms on the surface, it can look as if healing is taking place. But if the connective tissue underneath the skin doesn’t come together in its own process, that part of the wound can get infected and grow worse. Though the deeper wound is hidden for a time underneath the scab or skin, it’s not healing at all. So as we pray for healing in our nation, we do well to remember that there is little to be gained and, in fact, much harm to be done if we tend too quickly to the surface of things while ignoring the wounds underneath. May we pray for deep healing. 

This is what I know about unity: that it often comes at the expense of those whose inclusion is too costly for the dominant group. This is as true on the playground and in family relationships as it is in the wider society. Then that exclusion is often forgotten by those who have settled for what the prophet Isaiah called “peace when there is no peace.”  

We don’t have to look far for examples from our history. After the Civil War and the political whiplash of a white supremacist becoming president after the assassination of presdient Lincoln followed by a president committed to Reconstruction of the South and real liberties for those formerly enslaved, followed by a series of leaders in the South committed to dismantling all the gains blacks had made and Northerners more than happy to look the other way, there was a constant drumbeat for national unity between North and South. Monuments all over the country were erected, stained glass windows in this Cathedral installed, all in the service of unity between whites. We know who was excluded from that unity, from the ideals of democracy and liberty and justice for all.  Some of the most shameful events of our history--many of which were suppressed from our collective memory--come from that time, and from the impulse for unity along racial lines. So as we pray for unity, may we remember that the kind of unity worthy of the Kingdom of God and represented in the mosaic of this nation is not one that will come by exclusion, but with the hard work of reconciling. 

This I know about hope. It isn’t something we need to manufacture. It is God’s gift. Hope  often rises from despair. It can stir our hearts even when we have reason to give up. I wish I could tell you how this happens; I only know that it does. Hope resists platitudes or wishful thinking. It allows for grief and all its manifestations. It never chastises us for being exhausted and worried. It doesn’t ask us to pretend that everything is going to be okay when we don’t know if that’s true, at least in the short term. 

But what hope does--and thank God for hope--is help us rise again, not from our strength, but from the strength that comes to us from the deepest wells of the human spirit, where God’s divine spirit meets us. 

Now there is a cost to this hope, and we do have to choose it, because it refuses to deny the reality of suffering. You may have heard a refrain from St. Paul on the importance of suffering. He writes that we need to embrace suffering, for suffering is what produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope--and this hope does not disappoint because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Romans. 5:1-5) The source of our hope is the amazing love of God. 

In this time of waiting for the results of this election to be revealed, let me simply say that not only do we believe, as theological bedrock, that every person is a beloved child of God, we also believe that every citizen has a right to cast a vote. Those votes need to be counted. So we wait. And it’s not helpful--it’s a bit embarrassing, and frankly outrageous for our president to cast doubt on the normal practices of democracy and the heroic efforts of so many during this pandemic to exercise their right to vote. So we will wait for the results and take it from there. Whatever the outcome, the practice, the discipline, the call to love is the same. We pray for deep peace. We pray for unity that excludes no one. And we set our sights on hope. 

I love the biblical passage about letting our light shine. But I wish it said let Jesus’ light shine. I’m not as confident about mine, but I can let His light shine. And I’m letting him be the salt, not me. I’m placing my hope that God will prevail in the end.

And in the meantime? 

Last night my husband Paul and I went down to Black Lives Matter Plaza. There were all manner of young people there. Some were singing; some were shouting; some held up signs. There was a lot of drumming. It was chaotic and peaceful. The police were respectfully keeping distant watch. And there was this whole line of press cameras and journalists ready to tell the world what was about to transpire. 

But there wasn’t much happening that was newsworthy. We walked around a bit more. Then I met a group of people who are part of a group known as the “Nonviolent Peaceforce.” The Nonviolent Peaceforce places people trained in nonviolence into some of the most politically charged and volatile situations around the world, to be instruments of peace. There is a DC Peaceforce and they were there last night, and they were praying and walking and offering themselves. I spoke to the leader. He said, “All of us here are people of faith. And it would be really great if you were to join us.” I’m thinking that I will. 

So, friends, in the meantime and beyond, what we can do is meditate on the teachings of Jesus. And remember that the non-violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation. We can walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love. We can daily pray to be used by God in order that all might be free; sacrifice personal wishes in order that all might be free; observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy; seek to perform regular service for others and for the world. We can refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart. And strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

If we do those things, then surely the light of Jesus will shine through us, as we dare to hope and to dream and to work for true healing and unity.

May it be so. 

Amen. 

~~~
1 Bishop Michael Curry, Love is the Way: Holding Onto Hope in Troubled Times (New York: Avery, 2020), pp 70-94.
“Ten Commandments of Nonviolence" @1963 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; copyright renewed 1991 Coretta Scott King.

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