In Response to January 6, 2021
Yesterday, agitators and rioters breached the Capitol of the United States shattering windows and disrupting the Congress while it was performing its duty to formally count the results of the Electoral College. Both the House and Senate have been evacuated.
I am astonished that in my lifetime, the state of our fragile democracy is under such visible attack. I have always assumed that these tragic occurrences happen in other countries, never here.
I hope this day does not portend tragic things to come in the days, weeks, or months ahead. Reporters quoted protestors saying, “If your voices are not heard today, you will see our muskets tomorrow.” Another quote, “We will bring D.C. to its knees.”
One person has been shot and killed. When a reporter asked, “Is it worth it?”
One by one, several protestors answered, “Yes.”
It does not take much imagination to picture people carrying bombs and weapons into the building. I am thankful that elected leaders are not injured and that the building was not demolished. However, the nation may be poised for violence.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not aligned with a political party. As our Book of Discipline states, “While our allegiance to God takes precedence over our allegiance to any state, we acknowledge the vital function of government as a principal vehicle for the ordering of society.” (¶164).
For many years, it has been the custom of the Council of Bishops to present a newly elected president with a Bible signed by each of the bishops. This gift is given regardless of the president’s political party. I signed the Bible given to President Trump. I will sign the Bible to be presented to President Elect Biden. That tradition is symbolic of our belief in the peaceful transition of leadership.
One text from the Holy Bible suggests an appropriate response. The passage is found in 1 Timothy 2:1-3 from The Message paraphrase. “The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.”
United Methodists of Oklahoma, please pray for our country, our leaders, our processes, and this situation. Pray for peace. Pray for justice. Pray that the United States may come together.
Bishop Jimmy Nunn