Wednesday is a day I will remember for a long time. A group of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. I heard words that I never thought I would hear — insurrection, treason and more. I don’t know how many people were protesting, but they took it too far. I learned that there is an Insurrection Act of 1807 — who knew?
The Insurrection Act of 1807 is a United States federal law that empowers the President of the United States to deploy U.S. military and federalized National Guard troops within the United States in particular circumstances, such as to suppress civil disorder, insurrection, and rebellion.
The news reported that the President encouraged the crowd at a rally to go to the Capitol so they could make their voices heard. This was before the Capitol was stormed, but from what I hear, the crowd went too far. As a response, some members of Congress called for the use of the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office because they said he had influenced the crowd. How? Well, if the President is considered unfit to carry out the job of President, he can be removed by a consensus of others? What a horrible thought!
That night, I was awake! All that had happened had me too tense to sleep. How or why would anyone feel that storming the Capitol was ok? How could our President encourage it? Why did the President-Elect have to be the one that came on TV asking for the violence to cease? There were just sooo many questions I had no answer to.
So when I went to bed, I turned on some soft, relaxing music in the hope that I could calm my thoughts and get to sleep. I played two games on my phone that needed concentration to win. That didn’t help.
So then I thought okay, let’s read the Bible. That should help. I know God loves me and is working with all this confusion today together for the good of everyone. So, I opened up BibleGateway.com to read something… but what?
I started with the verse of the day: 1 Peter 1:13 (Amplified Version)
So prepare your minds for action, be completely sober [in spirit—steadfast, self-disciplined, spiritually and morally alert], fix your hope completely on the grace [of God] that is coming to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
That helped. I read the words “steadfast, self-disciplined, spiritually and morally alert” and realized that today would pass. If we the people required our representatives in government to be steadfast and self-disciplined in their service with a moral compass, our country would excel and be the example to the world of a place where dreams come true.
A nation is one where equal treatment of all, unconditional love and acceptance of all are principles it uses as its moral compass.
But this this still wasn’t enough. My mind was still reeling and needed to be drawn in or I would be up for hours.
My church starts today studying the book of 1 Corinthians, and as the Bible study leader, I have asked everyone to read at least Chapters 1 and 16 before we meet. So I thought okay, let’s do our reading. And that’s when it hit home.
In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul is writing because there is discord among the Corinthians. Just read verse 10:
I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
That sums up our problem today and for the past two months of discord. Our presidential election set records for the number of people who voted. It set records for the extra amount of scrutiny that each ballot received to make sure it was valid. In my state of Georgia alone, the authorities counted the votes twice before declaring a victor. They then counted them a third time when it was challenged by the President. Oh, and I don’t want to forget: The President tried to influence our Secretary of State by calling him to ask him to “find” 11,000 votes, just enough votes so the President could win Georgia.
I mean, am I in the The Twilight Zone? This is unreal!
But back to the Bible: Paul writes further on in 1 Corinthians about how to “get along with one another.” I am sure that’s why Paul wrote the “love” chapter — Chapter 13. My heart found some rest beginning with verse 8: “Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day…”
Considering all that has happened today and since November 3rd, our republic will not die. The presidential speeches will be over soon, and I am in hope that our country will bond more fully after all of this.
I shall continue to look to my Bible to help me find unity, peace, and love in my fellow humans.
I shall strive to remember that we are bankrupt without love.
May we remember the words Paul wrote in Philippians 2:1-4:
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if God’s love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care — then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Our country has struggled to allow everyone to have freedom. As stated in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all… are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Our history has shown that by working together we could create new cities, counties, and states.
Working together is how settlers moved from the East to the West in covered wagons.
Here in Georgia we have people working to get everyone out to vote. They didn’t care who you voted for, just that you voted. I heard on the news that one person over 40 had said she had not voted before this presidential election but did this year and would continue to do so. She saw her vote counted.
There will always be politicians that will try to sweet-talk us or sell us snake oil, but we as citizens need to learn to look at the actions and not just hear the empty words of some and accept them as truth.
I plan to do as Paul directed in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14:
Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.
I will be keeping my eyes open. I will ask you more, my politically activist brother, for reading materials and websites that help show me the truth and help me to make good political choices. I will give it more than I have in the past and try to get more involved. I will write my representatives at the state and federal levels. My voice needs to be heard and it’s about time I let it out. I hope more people will do the same.
I know that God loves each of us just as we are, and that’s enough.
Coming out of the political closest is scarier than when I came out of the closet as a lesbian — who knew?
May we all stop listening to those that want to sell us snake oil and let God’s unconditional love guide all our actions.
Love you bro.
The longtime Vicar of Education for Gentle Spirit Christian Church of Atlanta, Alyce Keener (she/her) has felt a twofold calling from an early age toward teaching and toward God. Her religious education started in earnest at her first vacation Bible school, which spurred the realization at a very young age of how important God and Jesus were in her life. She began to pray daily and later began studying the Bible in earnest in college, where she became involved with the Navigators, later taking classes at Moody Bible Institute. Born in Ohio, she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Illinois, and was active in local churches, serving on a missions committee, helping develop a church library, leading educational programs and directing a young adults program.