Our Finest Hour?

It could be. Even though the images of insurrection we witnessed yesterday will brand our hearts for a long time to come. We did imagine it could happen. Still, we hoped not. Images. The image that most seared my heart was not the one of the insurrectionist at the front of the People’s Chamber with his arm raised, hand in a fist. It wasn’t of the one posing in the Speaker’s secretary’s office, cocked back in the chair with his feet propped up on the desk. It wasn’t even the one where Trump’s loyalists, on the scaffolding, were trying to replace the American flag with a Trump flag. No. For me, sadly, it was a less provocative image: it was the one of the woman being carried out on a stretcher, covered in blood. The one who didn’t make it.

I don’t know if she was there also to raise a fist or if she was just an innocent staffer who’d gotten up that day to go to work and do her job. Whatever the reasons that brought her to the end of her life, just seeing her awakened in me the tragic reminder of what can happen when we collectively lose control and revert to the ravages of war. Yes, war. Only this time it was not on a faraway land. It was right here at home.

Collectively. I don’t believe we’ll be able to come together to heal this moment unless we also own it. And this ownership is not about judgement or blame of others or ourselves. Rather, it’s about seeing one another behind the masks of hate, bigotry and revenge. It’s about seeing a fellow sister being carried out on a stretcher covered in blood. We can’t bring others into our hearts unless we can find them there first. It begins with us. Then, and only then, will we be able to recognize the very image of God right in front of us. Only then will we be able to rise up to heal the wounds of this time with the laser compassion required in this moment. Laser because justice seeks accountability for harmful action. Compassion because, behind all masks of harm, is a crippling desperation peering out from the face of God.   

Our finest hour? Yes, if we remember that just a small amount of light ignites the dark. Just a pause, a second look, can turn the heart. It’s one of those striking paradoxes that nothing opens us to love like hate; to healing like suffering; to unity like divisiveness; to forgiveness like blame.

Let’s come together to find ways not to be better Democrats or Republicans or even better Americans. Let’s broaden our vision to look for ways to become better human beings in and around and with one another.

Let’s do it for the one who was carried out covered in blood. The one who didn’t make it. If we do, just maybe, together, we can create a new spark of hope from the still hot embers of this moment. . .

for all humankind.  


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8 responses to “Our Finest Hour?

  1. Nancy Walker

    Such a wise and compassionate call to LOVE. Thank you, Rev. Stephanie!

  2. Thank you Stephanie for this reminder of what our humanity should be about. I was particularly struck by your sentence “We can’t bring others into our heart unless we can find them there first.” I’ve sat with this for a while. I know it is a foundational truth. My prayer is that I and my country can live it.

    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      Thank you so much John for adding your voice to this important conversation. I always so appreciate how you sit with things – really seek to bring them into your life – and speak from there…

  3. Julie

    Thank you Stephanie for your insight. I can always count on you to “SEE”, offering that spark of perspective that causes me to look inward and shift.

    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      Thank you Julie for your kind words…true seeing is an ongoing ‘practice.’ Sometimes I’m certainly more blind than at other times! It’s why we do our spiritual practice…:)

  4. susanpcass

    Thank you for writing this powerful reminder and call to be more
    human. Seeing the motto above the Senate floor that read “E Pluribus Unum” while a snug insurgent beneath it posing in the presider’s chair was a stark image of the work ahead of us – work begins for each of us in our own hearts.

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