In a week of unspeakable sadness, many brave actions uplifted the spirits. The first was the bold response to the president’s thugs tear-gassing peaceful protestors, clearing his way to St. John’s Episcopal church near the White House. Bishop Mariann Budde has consistently opposed his inhumane and unjust policies, and told the Washington Post, “My major outrage was the abuse of sacred symbols and texts. There was no acknowledgment of grief, of wounds. No attempt to heal. The Bible calls us to our highest aspirations, and he used it as a prop. … I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call.”
Trump’s choice of church was also bumbling. St. John’s is a liberal church that supports much that the evangelical right opposes, including same-sex marriage and abortion rights. In an interview on CNN, Rev. Budde said that the president is not a man of prayer and does not worship regularly at St. John’s—or anywhere else—calling his photo op “a charade.” In contrast, many Episcopal clergy had been supporting the protesters practically, with water and snacks.
The more wicked among us can gleefully savor the irony that the Bible fished from Ivanka’s designer purse, which Trump brandished, was the outdated RSV translation (NRSV replaced it in 1989), which many evangelicals don’t consider authoritative.(https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/06/oops-trump-brought-the-wrong-bible-to-his-church-stunt/)
On an uplifting note, Christian voices joined in a stunning international outpouring of blessing, resounding from Thailand to Wales, Moose Jaw to Winnipeg, Bournemouth, UK to Melbourne, Australia, Hamburg to Memphis, Zimbabwe to Sweden, S. Africa to Malaysia. In Elevation Worship’s “The Blessing,” the words of Numbers 6:24-26 have been jazzed up, added to and given flourishes, accompanied by various instruments and sung by children (sweetly, a brother and sister share the family set of ear buds.) The unprecedented pandemic invited a creative response, each country giving their version a unique style and twist. All are heart-felt, powerful, inspiring. Check them out on You Tube. The Irish Blessing is so unique, next week’s blog will describe it.