January 6, 2021 was a history making day.
In Georgia, Rev. Raphael Warnock, lead minister of the historic black liberal congregation Ebenezer Baptist Church, became the first BLACK MAN who identifies as a Democrat to be elected to the United States Senate from the state. Jon Ossoff also joins Rev. Warnock in the Senate as the first Jewish member of the Senate from Georgia. This would not have been possible without countless organizers, activists, engaged citizens, and spiritual and political leaders working for numerous years to fight against the scourge of voter suppression.
Thank you, people of Georgia, especially the BIPOC folk who turned out and made a way out of no way. Thank you to all those who went to Georgia and all the resources that were poured into Georgia. Stacey Yvonne Abrams, thank you for your spiritual leadership and political savvy.
On this same day, as so often happens, joy and woe were woven fine, and white supremacy reared its head and bellowed its rage to the world from the US Capitol. We watched as thousands of insurrectionists stormed the US Capitol in an effort to overturn the results of our election and overthrow our democratically elected government. We watched as years of demagoguery led to its predictable outcome and catalyzed the divisiveness and hatred that we will all continue to reckon with in weeks and years to come. And we name the difference in how the police and military responded to these insurrectionists versus their treatment of Black Lives Matter protestors just six months prior as one more consequence of white supremacy culture.
As a seminary with more than thirty years of active commitment to countering oppressions, we know this pattern. We know that for every gain made toward justice, there is often a loud reaction and retribution from those who seek to pull us back and keep us down. As people of faith who are committed to dismantling white supremacy, our work continues on. We are called to be instruments of all that is good, right, and just.
This Saturday, Starr King School for the Ministry will gather for our annual Symposium to honor world renowned peacemaker, scholar activist, and educator, Professor Najeeba Syeed, and ground ourselves in interfaith rituals of resistance against state violence. We hope you will join us and prepare for the work that lies ahead. Learn more at www.sksm.edu/symposium2021.
But for today, I ask you to pause often. Please pause when you feel afraid and anxious. Pause, and if you are able, please take a KNEE. Take a KNEE for faith, for kindness, for compassion, for mercy, for change that is excruciating HARD and for justice. Below are a few phrases that you can chant while you take a KNEE. Please offer these phrases to loved ones. We are ALL feeling our feelings deeply. Ashay and blessed be.
Fear & Faith
Fear imprisons. Faith frees.
Fear troubles. Faith triumphs.
Fear cowers. Faith empowers.
Fear disheartens. Faith encourages.
Fear darkens. Faith brightens.
Fear puts hopelessness at the center of life.
Faith puts what is good, right, and just at the center of life.
It is good to be connected.
Pastor Jacqueline Duhart