The Reverend John Brockmann, TSSF
January 10, 2021
Epiphany 1 – Baptism of Jesus
Genesis 1:1-5 Acts 19:1-7 Mark 1:4-11
In 1961 when I was 10, my parents came up with a Easter Break road trip for my parents, two younger sisters, and me that involved driving from our home in New Jersey down to Washington DC.
I loved history and had devoured dozens of American Heritage and Landmark History books, and thus I recall how awestruck I was when we toured the Capitol, peeked into the Senate Chamber, and looked straight up in the center of the rotunda to see what looked like the Sistine Chapel—it was a celebration (The Apotheosis?) painting of General George Washington on the ceiling far, far above—almost in the heavens I thought.
We children were silent and even reverent in the rotunda looking up as if we were in church. Here in this very hall strode Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. To me the capitol was THE religious, historical, political center of the universe—and we walked its hallways silent, and in awe.
I was so taken by that experience, and our tours of the Supreme Court, the Smithsonian, etc. that when it came time to choose a college, I hoped against hope that Georgetown University in Washington DC would accept me for admission. It did.
Thus it was from out of this perspective, I share with all of you what we saw of the Capitol on TV or the internet last Wednesday—people violently busting-out window panels to gain entry, ripping out wood paneling to steal as trophies, belaying off a balcony of the Senate Chamber, stealing the podium of the House, smashing into the Speaker’s Office, and a Q-Anon shaman high after smoking marijuana in a broken-in Representative’s office, walking with a buffalo helmet bare-chested through the halls.
This was not vandalism, this was not 1st Amendment free speech, this was the desecration by dark forces of a civic shrine hallowed by the lives of many, many previous generations.
It was not gentle—there was smashing, rendering, and tearing asunder full of anger, mob insanity, and hate. And there were deaths and injuries requiring hospitalization—deaths from gunshot, trampling, stroke, heart attack, and injuries requiring hospitalization.
All true, but what does that have to do with the Scripture readings on this day.