January 13, 2021
On the Breaching of the Capitol and the Restoration of the People
I have a deep acquaintance with the Capitol Building. I worked for a time in the United Methodist Building, located next to the Supreme Court and across the street from "the People's House." I walked by that majestic space every day, often ate my lunch sitting on its steps, attended committee meetings, observed hearings, and reveled in its order, beauty and accessibility.
It has been a week since the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, when we celebrate divine revelation made known to the world in the newborn Christ. But the day's spirit was overtaken by armed and angry human beings assaulting the Capitol, its guards and all who were working there. The gallows they constructed, the death chants they shouted, the pain and hate on their faces, the fear and destruction and killing they wrought, and the cascading threats of continued violence in every state reveal the depths of our national brokenness. Those who lead them are facing the dire consequences of their unconscionable and malicious action. What is now required of us, as people who seek to align ourselves with the Lord of heaven and earth?
The Prophet we know as Third Isaiah spoke to people who had suffered attack and division that tore Israel apart for three generations. He invited people to become "Repairers of the Breach."
If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of the Breach
Restorer of the Streets to live in . Isaiah 58: 9-12
The restoration of our society may seem impossible, and will take years, but we are called to begin, in our own families, among our acquaintances, in the larger civil society, and right here, within our own community of faith.
Our Administrative Council had planned for 2020, to be "The Year of Listening." Given our COVID19-required distance, listening was made harder, and it remains so. It is essential that we each give ourselves to this endeavor in 2021. Listening deeply and sharing deeply will bring us to wisdom and right action and will allow Jesus' call to "love thy neighbor as thyself," to take root in us. That will be a beautiful thing.
Please hold me accountable to this effort, dear friends. We have much to learn from each other.
grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord,
Rev. Patricia Wagner
Maple Grove UMC
7 W Henderson Rd
Columbus, OH 43214