Evensong for Justice and Peace
Sunday, July 10, 2016, 5:30 pm
The Rt. Rev. Robert L. Fitzpatrick, Episcopal Bishop of Hawaii
The Very Rev. Walter B.A. Brownridge, Dean of the Cathedral of St. Andrew
A Reflection by Bishop Fitzpatrick after a Tragic Week
As I said Morning Prayer this morning, I was stopped as I prayed Psalms 16 and 17. The final two verses of Psalm 16 (10 and 11) ran into the first two of Psalm 17 as a single prayer:
For you will not abandon me to the grave, *
nor let your holy one see the Pit.
You will show me the path of life; *
in your presence there is fullness of joy,
and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
Hear my plea of innocence, O LORD; give heed to my cry; *
listen to my prayer, which does not come from lying lips.
Let my vindication come forth from your presence; *
let your eyes be fixed on justice.
I was queasy all week as news from Baton Rouge and then St. Paul unfolded, and then absolutely nauseous last night watching the news from Dallas. It was a living moment of Lamentations 2:11: “My eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns; my bile is poured out on the ground because of the destruction of my people, because infants and babes faint in the streets of the city.”
The peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors in Dallas were calling us to wake up to systemic violence and the power of racism (all to too unconscious and self-distructive) that permeates our society and too often our very being. In the midst of a cry for peace with justice, an act of violence and misplaced hate by an individual destroyed more lives and fanned the flames of fear. Again the cry from the opening verses of Psalm 13 come to mind: “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me for ever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long shall I have perplexity in my mind, and grief in my heart, day after day?”
In the midst of violence, the cry of peace cannot be silenced. In the face of fear, only the demand for justice can triumph. At the end of John’s Gospel, Jesus assures the Disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
I call the Diocese of Hawaiʻi to prayer: for the repose of the souls of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and the police officers murdered in Dallas; for our nation that we might overcome the ongoing result of the sins of the past without violence and hate; and for ourselves that we might each be instruments of peace and justice.
Your brother in Christ Jesus,
July 8, 2016