A message from Chinook Winds Presiding Officer Vicki McPhee on the violence on Washington’s Capitol Hill
On this day of Epiphany, in the tenth month of a global pandemic and during a week of high political tension for our neighbours to the south, unrest and violence have erupted in that nation’s capital. Government leaders have been prevented from doing the work of the people, evacuations have taken place, someone has been killed, a curfew imposed, and the National Guard has been called—not by the President but by his Vice-President. A nation that prides itself on the peacefully transfer the power of its leadership, is now in the midst of turmoil as the current President denies the fact that he lost the 2020 election, and another will soon become President.
On this day of Epiphany, our scriptures tell us that the Wise Ones from the East followed a star bright and bold in the sky. They stopped in Jerusalem to asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? (We) have come to pay him homage’ (Matt 2:2 NRSV). When King Herod heard that a baby was born who would lead the people, he became afraid. He told the Wise Ones to return to reveal the boy’s location.
Herod was so afraid of losing power and authority over the people and the land, that he decreed all boys under the age of two to be killed. These were terrible times. Times of persecution. Times of poverty. Times of uncertainty. These were the times in which the Word became flesh. That God became human so as to know the pain and hurt of living. And the joy of celebration. To know and feel love, as we know and feel love.
God so loved the world that God gave unto us Jesus, the Beloved. To show and teach us that love will always overcome hate. Herod tried to stop God entering into the world, but he could not. Because love trumps hate. Because love always wins.
On this day of Epiphany, as the day has ebbed to evening, I offer this prayer:
Mysterious God, you entered our world as a vulnerable baby and your presence caused those in power to quake with fear—fear of losing power, authority and control. In their fear, they lashed out and tried to harm and damage. But the strength of your love is beyond all imagining and cannot be denied.
Loving God, remind us, this day, the wisdom of the Wise Ones to not give way to the fear of those holding desperately to power. Remind us of the courage and strength they had to choose a different path when they returned home. They did not go back to Herod.
Compassionate God, during this time of political unrest in the United States, give that same courage and strength to the citizens of the United States to choose a different path, away from fear, hatred, bigotry and racism. Continue to be with those struggling to keep their democracy intact and to keep their citizens and politicians safe from harm. Remind them that Your love could not be prevented from entering the world. And that Your love cannot be defeated.
Healing God, be also with us, as we watch the turmoil from afar with feelings of trepidation, uncertainty, fear, and anger. Give us courage and strength to choose love over hate and respond with love.
In the name of Jesus, hear this prayer and may it be so. Amen.
Presiding Officer, Chinook Winds Regional Council