January 07, 2021

The Worst Day

I am 60 years old, which means that I am older than most Americans, but younger than some. I have experienced mostly good things, especially since I became an adult, and I feel overwhelmingly thankful. I know that I am privileged – white, male, Christian, heterosexual, and financially comfortable – and I know that I have done well with what God gave me, along with my own hard work, and the kindness of others. I married the most amazing person I know, I have two incredible children, I have had the amazing fortune of being friends with people who make me a better person, I live in a country filled with magnificence, and I serve a congregation that really tries hard to be a community that does the work of Jesus. I feel like I am living a life that nobody deserves.

But yesterday was the worst day I have ever experienced as an American.

There were other bad days: the day I found out that our country delayed going into WWII. How many people were murdered by the fascists because of our delay? The day I learned about why we were in Viet Nam – so many bright futures ruined by death and Agent Orange. The day I watched Pres. Nixon resigns in disgrace. The day I learned that I had been misled by the church about gay people – they are, it turns out, just like me. The day I heard that a fellow 9th-grade boy had been killed by a school bus as he walked home in the dark. The day Iran took American citizens as hostages. The day the towers fell in New York City, as terrorists attacked us, striking the Pentagon as well.

But yesterday was the worst day I have ever experienced as an American.

We all watched it – people claiming to be Americans attacking one of the great symbols of democracy, our Capitol. They were protesting based on lies they had been told, and they were ready for war. They had been called to Washington, DC to support something that all of us thinking people know is not true, and they pushed their way into our house, breaking in, damaging property, and trying to steal important documents. They put the people there – members of congress, staff, police – in harm’s way, and one of them was killed. Then, because of their privilege, most of them were allowed to walk away, unscathed and told how much they were loved.

But that isn’t the worst of it.

The worst thing about yesterday is what happened around the rest of the country. People like you and me – people of faith and patriotic pride – people of different backgrounds – people of integrity – began to make excuses for these terrorists. Look at all the ways that Black Lives Matters and Antifa behave, they shouted. The election was rigged, the proclaimed. They didn’t go looking for a fight, they cried. Meanwhile, our house – the house where our representatives have gathered for 2 centuries – was breached, attacked by “good” Americans regurgitating lies they had been told again and again. 

I have agreed and disagreed with every president we have ever had. I have seen the positives and the negatives, and I know how much I don’t know. I admit that none of us knows all the facts, so it is difficult to judge whether most decisions are good or not. That said, yesterday we watched as our neighbors, our church members, our community leaders, and our friends, launched a terrorist attack on our Capitol. There is no excuse or reason or “but what about” that anyone can say to make that change. If this is America being great, I want no part of it.

I mourn with every thinking person who rejects what happened yesterday, and I hope and pray that tomorrow will be better. But for now, we should all be worried about our country. Because yesterday was the worst day I – and maybe you – have ever experienced as an American.

Prayer – Holy God, we have no words to describe how most of us are feeling right now, so we must rely on You to understand our sighs, our tears, and our frustrations. Give us time to find hope. Amen.

Today’s picture is a reminder of what these terrorists attacked.