Can the Liturgy say anything to national tragedy? Perhaps not. Perhaps there is no hope, no unity, no body to gather together. Perhaps this nation of the United States is simply broken beyond repair—the Word of God has been usurped for condemnation and hatred. Even church leaders are found praying to God for division, rejecting the common good, and stoking hearts full of violence.
And we thought 2020 was bad.
What can our meager prayers do in a country embroiled with hatred and death? What service does the liturgy give? Is the liturgy—our beloved, comfortable liturgy—full of lies about the living God? We are clearly not experiencing the reality projected by liturgical prayer.
So what is real? The Word of God calls us to change, and the Liturgy calls us to listen. If the United States has any dream of being a city on a hill, then let us have ears to hear. Let us have courage to break down the walls within our hearts.
This weekend is the Baptism of the Lord. This is what Isaiah has to say about the living God:
[H]e shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching. (Isaiah 42: 1-4)
Let’s all of us rise up…and go forth in peace.