I just read the gospel this morning with the directive from Jesus to his disciples about getting a boat from which he could preach on the water so he would not be crushed by the crowds. It put me in mind of the two events happening tomorrow and Saturday in Washington, DC. Although all reports say that the crowd at the Presidential Inauguration will be “smaller than usual” that still means a huge turnout. And Saturday will see the “Million Woman March” – not only in Washington but at other centers around the country. The followers of Jesus could never have conceived of the crowds we will surely see during these days.
Even in the time of Jesus, large crowds have always held the potential for tension and the need for crowd control, especially in situations where there are supporters and opponents of the reason for the gathering. When people are being jostled and “personal space” is non-existent or when chanting becomes a shouting match by the different factions present, tempers can flare and the danger of violence grows.
My prayer this morning is that all of the participants in the weekend events will remember the privilege we have of living in this country and that peaceful change is possible if cooperation is based on higher purpose. Whatever our political leanings, may we be guided by the reminders in the prayer of the psalmist this morning.
O Lord, my God, all that you do is marked with good, and all the things you have in mind for us are incomparable. O that I could speak it for everyone to hear and know, but it is vast and overwhelms the soul. Yet I know this, for you have made my inner ear to hear, that it is never bloody sacrifices that we burn for sins you want or need from us. For even in the scroll of Torah, the book you wrote, it is said that I should simply do your will. That is it, your whole desire which has now become my soul’s delight. So from my heart I keep your ways, your law of life. (PS 40: 6-10) Ancient Songs Sung Anew