Peace be with you. I want to address the horrific events of the past week. As you may know, chapels for this week’s intensive are pre-recorded on the Tuesday before the session, and convocation took place on Wednesday morning. Of course, the violent rioting and insurrection that took place at the US Capitol occurred on Wednesday afternoon after we had videoed all of the chapels.

The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies deplores and condemns the many violent actions that were on display in last week’s tragic event at the US Capitol. We are universally deeply angry and profoundly sorrowful for what we have seen transpire. We ask you all to join us in prayer for the restoration of true peace, the end of violence and disorder, and repentance for the perpetration of arrogance, untruth, moral decadence and ugliness.

On the morning of the insurrection, I gave a brief homily on the great Feast of the Epiphany, when we commemorate the journey of the magi to visit the newborn King of Israel. I stated that the cosmic alignment we know as the Star of Bethlehem, was a portent for the entire world, an indication that heaven and earth had come back into alignment, an alignment that had been lost to sin, rebellion, warfare, political polarization, the lust after power, pride, pleasure and wealth. Sin affected then, and still affects today, not just mankind, but the entire cosmos. Like the magi of old, we too must be indifferent to the power mongers of our age, the Caesars and the Herods. We too must follow the star to worship the King of Kings. We too must say yes to God’s love, revealed in Christ through his word and table, and be sent into the world in mission to love the world back to God.

But first, we must pray.

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus Christ your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family. We repent of the extreme arrogance, violence and hatred which infect our hearts. Take it away through the precious sacrifice of your Son, Jesus. Break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of true love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony as we, too, seek to be aligned to You, just as the Star of Bethlehem revealed to us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.