This Village Smith concept, as you might recall when we started this weekly missive eleven months ago, is based on the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow titled, “The Village Blacksmith.” He provides a portrait of community life where the smithy is placed at the apex of village life. The person who serves in this role is in a unique position to observe what’s going on. In this vein, I humbly stand in my role as one observer among many who looks out on the landscape of our lives, our church community and our world, and comments in what I hope is a meaningful way. I’m fully aware this is not always the case, so thank you for bearing with me.
With many of you, I observed the events of Wednesday in Washington. I found myself sickened at what I heard on so many levels. I was heartbroken at the horror of watching some of our fellow citizens give themselves over to the crassest, most self-serving and unbridled denigration of our U.S. Constitution, and supposedly common national life, I could imagine. The focal point was the occupation of our Capitol Building that disrupted constitutional election proceedings and framed an image of what the basest of our human inclinations looks like when we cast off all restraints and trample any sense of common decency. I am deeply grateful that constitutional norms held firm.
What lies ahead likely will be a convoluted, if not tortuous path, as voices are raised from all directions in our public life, where falsehood is lifted up as truth, and as each of our nation’s leaders, and we ourselves, sort out where we are and where we need to go for the full benefit of everything we hold dear as a people, as a nation. I was struck this morning by the first line of a post by a pastor acquaintance back in Indiana. It is simple. It is profound. It resonates with my heart. Maybe it does with yours. Chris Henry, Pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis writes, “Lord have mercy.” Lord, have mercy. Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes.
Chris, and a few other Presbyterian leader friends from around the country, also posted a portion of The Book of Common Prayer. It is a prayer worthy of our daily use, perhaps our many-times-a-day use, moving forward. May it bear fruit for us and all citizens of our United States of America.
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Grateful we can stand together for all God’s best in these remote and troubled days,