Dear Church Family,
I am out of words. I really am. And I can’t tell if that’s because there are so many bouncing around inside of me…or because absolutely none of them truly capture what we’re feeling. Wednesday's takeover of the Capitol is something I never imagined I’d see – sedition – something we tend to believe can only happen in other times and places. Yesterday, we were reminded how very fragile democracy is…and that we must never take it for granted. We were reminded of the power of both lies and truth…and we dedicate ourselves to exposing the first and speaking the second. We were reminded that words matter and actions have power…so we choose to speak the words and take the actions that show love and care and mercy and justice for all people in ways that honor all people.
Maybe I found a few words after all.
Just this morning, I have read and heard various leaders (both sacred and secular) use spiritual language to respond to yesterday’s insurrection – everything from
the Prayer of St. Francis (“…make me an instrument of your peace”)
to Psalm 30 (“…weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning”),
from the words of Rev. Dr. King (“…hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”)
to the reminder that yesterday was Epiphany, when hope was revealed in troubled times.
Those are all powerful words. Those are all important reminders. But the words I have been praying on through the night are the lyrics from a song in yesterday’s UCC prayer service. The music was written by a UCC music minister and teacher, Mark Miller. The lyrics are believed to have come from words scratched on a wall in a cellar where Jews were hiding from Nazi persecution. It is not clear that’s actually the origin of the original poem, but the lyrics of the song are incredibly powerful regardless:
"I believe in the sun, I believe in the sun
even when, even when it's not shining.
I believe in love, I believe in love
even when, even when I don't feel it.
I believe in God, I believe in God
even when, even when God is silent."
- words adapted by Mark A. Miller
The chancel choir of Christ Church UCC in Summit, NJ, directed by Mark Miller, offers the song to us here: I Believe
We continue to pray that everyone will listen to their better angels now, that this moment of violence will lead to some kind of meaningful epiphany, and that our country may begin to heal and move forward into greater truth and justice for all.
God be with us.
Rev. Kirsten M. Linford
Westwood Hills Congregational UCC