January 18, 2021

The most amazing field hockey tournament I ever played in was on the Mall in Washington, D.C., in the fall of 1980.  The competition was tough, the games intense, and we managed to take third in our group.  But that wasn’t what mattered. We were playing at the Mall, in the shadow of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.  During breaks, we bought food from vendors and visited some of the sites, including the newly dedicated Vietnam War Memorial which brought us all to tears.

The sense of place, and the opportunity to play our sport where so many national events had occurred, from presidential inaugurations to Martin Luther King Jr’s stirring “I have a dream,” speech during the March on Washington in 1968.  We were safely nestled in the seat of our nation, our biggest worries the score, the next game, and where we’d eat lunch. It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime event.

I imagine many of us have memories of visiting Washington D.C. as a part of school field trips or family vacations. We’ve been awed by the Smithsonian Museums, humbled by the statues in the Hall of Monuments, marveled to step into the White House, grieved while experiencing the Holocaust Museum. Rod remembers touring the tunnels under the Capitol when he was in elementary school. We took a visitor from Uganda to visit D.C. in the 80’s and he couldn’t believe we could walk about freely.

These memories bring joy and a sense of pride that our nation’s Capital is an open place of beauty. Of course the world has changed since then. Our grandchildren practice lockdowns compared to the nuclear bomb drills of the ‘60’s. But somehow, even with increased security throughout our nation, especially following September 11, 2001, nothing prepared me for what occurred on January 6, 2021. I felt shocked, afraid, and sick in body and soul. My gut prayer was “Oh my God,” not unlike Jesus’ cry, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem.” (See two options to join together in prayer for our nation below.)

We’ve a long way to go. There is much work to do for people of faith who follow the Prince of Peace.  David said in Psalm 122:6, “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”  I think that is a good word for us this week, to pray for peace in our nation. And then to commit to the work of justice and peace in every way possible. See two options

“To be tough is to be fragile; to be tender is to be truly fierce.”  May our tender, broken hearts fuel the kind of love Jesus modeled. ~ Anne

These meditations are provided as a ministry in this time of pandemic as a ministry of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.

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