Praying for the People’s House on this January 6
Today is the second anniversary of the violent insurrection in the U.S. Capitol. It is also the Christian Day of Epiphany.
Today is the second anniversary of the violent insurrection in the U.S. Capitol. It is also the Day of Epiphany.
This morning, faith leaders came together to remember those two occasions at a “Sunrise Prayer Vigil for Democracy” outside the U.S. Capitol, organized by Christians Against Christian Nationalism, a project of the Baptist Joint Committee, and the nonprofit Faithful America.
You can watch a video of this morning’s vigil, with remarks from all of the faith leaders. Here are my own reflections:
The word “Epiphany” comes from the Greek word epiphaneia which means “to reveal,” as when the baby Jesus was revealed to the world when the Magi, three kings or wise men, were led to Jesus by a star. Epiphany is a time in the Christian calendar to celebrate the appearance and manifestation of Jesus into the world.
The popular word “epiphany” means to realize something.
So today we realize how close we came to losing our democracy on this day two years ago. We also realize and remember how a false Christian manifestation entered Halls of Congress with Christian symbols given over to violence, when the attack on the Capitol was perpetrated by people carrying Bibles and Christian flags, who prayed to their god -- the God of White Christian Nationalism -- on the floor of the Senate gallery. That false religion -- the false gospel of White Christian Nationalism -- was certainly present on the epiphany day of January 6, 2021.
But religion, true religion, and the true gospel of Christ must be part of any response to this day as well. And that is why we are here – to remember the true manifestation of Jesus on this day to renounce the false manifestation of Christ depicted here two years ago. We are here to reclaim Jesus on this day of Epiphany, calling Christians to stand up to condemn White Christian Nationalism in all of its heretical forms as not only wrong and dangerous but also unholy.
The traditional Epiphany blessing is a blessing on family homes. The Capitol is famously the people's house; and the people's house was attacked on Jan 6, which was an attack on all of us, on the foundations of our democracy. A lot of people who work in the people's house are still traumatized by the events of January 6, so we ask God to give them strength and to protect them.
As we pray:
Bless this House of Congress.
Bless this Capitol of our Democracy.
Bless all who work here to represent the people.
Bless all those who are here to protect the representatives of the people.
Bless the fragile democracy of this House which is still in jeopardy. Lord, hear our prayers to bless this House.
Today, on this Jan 6 Day of Epiphany, we celebrate the true manifestation of Christ in the world; and today renounce every false manifestation of Christianity.
Let me close with part of the Epiphany liturgy for today.
Lord Jesus Christ, the three kings presented their gifts to you in praise and adoration: grant that those living in this house may use their talents and abilities to your greater glory.
Lord God of heaven and earth,
you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation
by the guidance of a star.
Bless this house
and all who inhabit it.
Fill them (us) with the light of Christ,
that their (our) concern for others may reflect your love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
May Christ Jesus dwell with us,
keep us from all harm,
and make us one in mind and heart,
now and forever.
Oh Lord, Please Hear Our Prayers.
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