Misfits on a Mission, Finding Identity in Jesus

Epiphany and the January 6th Insurrection

Today is Epiphany and one year since terrorists stormed the U.S. Capital building, threatening elected officials and injuring dozens of officers. What does Epiphany have to do with the Insurrection?

In the season of Epiphany, Christians celebrate the spread of the Light—the life and revelation of Jesus Christ—to all “nations” (people groups) of the world. The Magi from the East represent the launch of this expanded mission. But some have confused this Light for a doctrine or system of beliefs. That’s not what Jesus revealed. Jesus’s life was characterized by demonstrating love to the most vulnerable members of society. He said his mission was one of liberation and holistic justice. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and blessed children. Jesus didn’t only say “believe in me”; he said “follow me.” The Light of Christ is incarnated love. It is the demonstration of Jesus’s life, teachings, and ministry through our lives. Jesus commanded his disciples to “love one another as I have loved you” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Years ago, I would have said that the Light of Christ has nothing to do with government, voting, politics, or policy. I was wrong. To love our neighbors well, we have a calling from Jesus to ensure that the political system in which we participate is just. As Israel in exile was called to seek the shalom of Babylon, so too are Jesus-disciples called to seek the shalom of the United States. Not to ‘make America great,’ but to love our neighbors who are most harmed by unjust policies.

It’s not partisan politics to condemn the attack on the Capital one year ago and seek to never relive it.
It’s not partisan politics to want a stable government in this country.
It’s not partisan politics to condemn and oppose White Christian Nationalism.
These things aren’t partisan politics; they are obedience to Jesus by loving our neighbors—especially those who would be most harmed by the collapse of democracy in America.

The Insurrection was an attempt to overthrow the government of the United States—an effort that is still ongoing. This is unacceptable for Jesus-disciples because, if the democracy of the U.S. fails, our most vulnerable neighbors will bear the brunt of the suffering. The rich and well-connected will be able to secure their lives. Those who have less resources will be the most harmed.

Two wise words come to mind when I think of Epiphany and the Insurrection:

Never forget justice is what love looks like in public.
— Cornel West

Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.
— John Lewis