“The Lord judges the peoples;
judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.” Psalm 7: 8
My friends, I’ve been struggling with how to respond to the events of Wednesday’s culminating assault on our capital and the very democracy that assures our freedom and order in the land; the very institutions that Martin Luther claimed are a gift from God. As an ordained pastor, I have always been cautious not to mix politics and religion. But as an ordained pastor, as a person of faith, I can neither stand idly aside and not speak out in condemnation of violence that is driven by the ugly and evil ideology of white supremacy and racism.
But this is not about politics. It’s about righteousness and integrity. Today’s reading of Psalm 7 has brought some clarity for me in this moment. Often, when I think about God’s judgment on my life, I immediately focus on the wrongs that I have committed and the ways I have hurt others in the process. And believe me, there are many and often. Perhaps even the writing of this blog today will cause harm to some and I indeed ask for your forgiveness. But what strikes me in this psalm is that the psalmist is asking God to judge her according to her RIGHTEOUSNESS and INTEGRITY. A righteousness that is obtained only through the salvific acts of Jesus Christ for the atonement of my sins – not self-righteousness. And integrity of the heart that comes from being made right through Jesus.
So what is integrity in this moment? What is righteousness in this moment? Peggy Hahn, Executive Director of LEAD wrote on the LEAD blog post yesterday, “How we talk about what is happening in our country is critical. There should be no white washing. The stain of this memory should be told, even to our children and grandchildren. We cannot miss this moment to tell the faith story.”
“Be BOLD.” Hahn wrote. “Tell the whole, racist, abusive truth.”
I believe in my heart and with God as my guide, that I am called to renounce the events of Wednesday including the very rhetoric that has perpetually driven the cause.
And the faith story is this: When God created us and all of creation, God said, “It is good.” But evil entered into the world. And we know this because there is also good – Just as we can recognize the light in the midst of darkness. And Christ is that light: God’s son sent to live among us, and who died and rose conquering evil, death and the grave once and for all, that we might have life and have it abundantly. And in this righteous and abundant life, we are created to do good. To live with integrity of the heart. Created to love and care for our fellow humans and all of creation, especially the poor and oppressed. We are also called to be accountable to one another and to rebuke the evil that pervades; to ultimately work toward unity and inclusion as the Spirit empowers us; for all are created equal in God’s sight. This is how God intended for the story to be.
So I ask you to BE BOLD with me today – righteous and with integrity of the heart – and renounce evil. But more than that, let’s tell the faith story again and again and again. The one where love wins.
Be well. Be safe. Be hope. prL
I felt the need to speak these words out loud today. If you’d like to view the recording, here is the link: https://vimeo.com/498473337