Psalm 147:6-7 (NRSV)
The Lord lifts up the downtrodden; he casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre.
Sunday brings hope, envisioning all humanity living in harmony, with dignity and purpose. We declare “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1, NRSV)
Monday brings crises. The metastasizing climate crisis threatens human civilization with fire and flood, drought and starvation, and perhaps a billion climate refugees, while politicians dither, deny, and deflect.
The recent National Prayer Breakfast reflects our spiritual crisis. After a speaker rued incivility in public life, and praised reconciliation, our president scoffed, attacking those who say they pray for him, and implying all Christians support him.
I also see a democracy crisis in this country. I’ve never before doubted a president’s commitment to American democracy, a free press, fair elections and the rule of law. But now, we have someone who befriends authoritarians and seems eager to adopt their ways – stoking fear and hatred, attacking the press and judiciary, promoting a cult of personality, converting government agencies into personal tools, and undermining objective truth with a torrent of falsehoods. We’re entering a “post-truth” era – and as author of the book On Tyranny notes, “post-truth is pre-fascism.” I fear for our country.
How can we cope with fear and despair, and draw Monday back toward Sunday? It helps to realize we’re not alone. In “Reclaiming Jesus,” church elders call out our leaders’ white nationalism, “consistent lying,” and disdain for the rule of law. In “Lent 2020: A Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Repentance Leading to Action” they offer spiritual guidance for our time that all people of good will should heed (www.reclaimingjesus.org). And groups like the Lincoln Project show that this fear for our country is bipartisan (https://lincolnproject.us).
I struggle to know how to respond to these crises. But Psalm 147 reminds us to trust in God, which can strengthen hope, fortitude, and action – to light a candle against the darkness, to read and reflect and talk to others, to defend voting and the rule of law, and to work to elect leaders who will bring forth our better angels.
For we know that “faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26, NKJV)
Dear Lord, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Help us to protect your creation, to deepen our faith, and to create a more perfect union in our country, where the rule of law prevails and adversaries compete in good faith, putting allegiance to the Constitution before party or personal interests. Help us to remain vigilant and courageous in resisting those who would make America a democracy in name only. In your holy name we humbly pray. Amen.