this letter was written by Pastor Paul on the day of Epiphany, Jan 6 during the protest, riot and violent clash at our nations capitol building. A prayer zoom call was held that evening.

Dear Church,

Today at the Federal Capitol in Washington D.C. our lawmakers, media and capitol police became under siege by a crowd who stormed into the legislative chambers where the process of counting electoral votes for the 2020 presidential election was ongoing. We know the elections have been hotly contested and accusations of fraud have abounded by the President. However contentious and controversial, a peaceful process was underway to finish the job of electing the next president.

But today a violent mob donning Trump and Q-anon clothing and flags chose to take matters into their own hands. They broke windows and barged into the chambers of the Senate and attacked police and occupied offices. Congress women and men were ducking for cover, wearing gas masks and evacuated into hiding. Early reports say that at least five people were seriously hurt. As I write this a large number of rioters are still inside the building. This moment will be remembered as one of the most egregious breaches of our governmental and democratic electoral process.

What I feel most concerned about is that some people have done these things in the name of religion and in the name of Christ. In doing so they have damaged the witness of the Church. They have engaged in idolatry and put politics and the words of a leader ahead of Jesus’ own words.

I urge you, do not blame or lash out against others who are of an opposite political persuasion. I urge you to pray for the leaders who have more decisions ahead of them today and in the weeks to come. I urge you, “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is Gods.” The actions by these people have nothing to do with Jesus or Christianity – many would say also nothing to do with the Republican Party. Violence and evil does not heal. Conspiracy does not educate. We know that from Christ’s own life, that mob rule does not bring about justice.

Gracious God, we ask for your grace and mercy to be upon those at the Capitol today. We ask that justice be served for those who have acted illegally and violently. We are a people that has consistently fallen short of your standard to live humbly, truthfully and honestly together in our public life. Lord, we are tired of bitter partisanship and extreme politics in our public life. We grieve the injury of your precious humanity brought about by these events. Give us, your body, the strength to live up to your command to love others, even our enemies. Help us to live as children in Your eternal kingdom. Empower us to live in your Spirit and Truth.