The last weeks were a painful and tumultuous one for our nation and for our region. In such a moment there are a number of things that need to be said, and our faith alone has the capacity to comprise them all. Too easily our secular setting narrows what we would say to options of a more political nature. So let me list some of the varied affirmations the Scriptures encourage us to hold simultaneously.
The maintenance of public order is a vocation from God. (Romans 13). Luther called it 'God's left hand.'
We as Christians are enjoined by Paul to 'weep with those who weep' (Romans 12) even as we offer a larger hope.
The secular affirmation of equality is rooted in the nature of the human 'in the image of God.' (Genesis 1)
The prophets challenge us to see ways in which our society suffers from division and prejudice, how the marginalized undergo abuse.
They call us to action even as the Scriptures recognize larger structures and forces at work, the 'powers and principalities.' (Ephesians 5). We are hopeful but deeply realistic.
Meanwhile the Church, though subject to all the failings of the present age, is also a sign of the new Jerusalem. It is the body of Christ and as such already is, in spite of ourselves, one (Acts 2). It has to strive to live into this fact. Ecumenism pursues living into who we already are, a community beyond tribe or race.
My point is simply that Christian truth has the capacity to say all the things that need saying at one and the same time. By contrast our own wits come up short.