Attack on the Capitol: How to Respond

January 15th, 2021 | April Karli

It has been a week since the violence at the Capitol. What we saw and heard has stunned and horrified all of us. Not only were the lives of elected officials and others who work at the Capitol threatened, symbols of hatred against people of color were on display. Even more appalling was seeing so many use the name of Jesus as the reason for their violence and brutality.

At Austin Mustard Seed we strive not to be a partisan church, however we refuse to make false equivalencies and fall for the trap of “bothsidesism,” so we will be clear that the events of last week happened because of demonic white supremacy, a love of violence, and a president who has not only refused to condemn those impulses but has instead cultivated them. We have repeatedly denounced white supremacy and Christian nationalism and plan to continue to because anything else would be unfaithful to Christ.Both are sinful forms of idolatry which do great harm to those who bear God’s image. 

While some may be surprised at the scope of the riots last week, there are others who are not surprised at all. Our brothers and sisters of color have expressed that they’ve seen the signs for some time. Our country has never truly healed from its founding sin of racial injustice. The last four years the president’s rhetoric has been fertile soil allowing racial resentments to fester and grow. 

In addition, disinformation is rampant breeding greater acrimony and distrust. This distrust extends between strangers, colleagues, friends, and family members. Anxiety is high. You may feel anger, grief, or disgust. It’s possible you feel frozen or detached, unable to respond. All of these are normal. 

In the wake of this injustice many have called for “unity”, but of course unity without justice is not unity at all. All too often this false unity is weaponized as a way to protect the powerful and privileged. May we as the people of God not be as those the prophet Jeremiah spoke of when he said, “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”

We also know that many of you have family and friends who are sick with COVID. There is much to bear right now, and it’s made more difficult by our physical separation. But you are not alone. We are your community! 

So, regardless of what you are feeling, we want to offer some ways to care for yourself and for your neighbors during this time:

  1. Lament & Confession: While it might be easy to focus on the other, on the extremists, on those who had the gall to attend the riots and mob the Capitol, we must remember that the actions taken and words spoken by white supremacists and Christian nationalists are not completely foreign to us. 

    We are invited into a Christlike response, to cultivate and invite God’s kingdom into our hearts and into the world around us. That begins with repentance and lament. One way to do this is through the practice of Examen. The Examen is a way to heighten your awareness of God’s presence in your life. Reimagining the Examen is an app created to walk you through the daily practice. Pray as you Go is another excellent guided prayer app. 
  2. Care For Yourself & Others: Every day take time to care for yourself. Are you sleeping enough? Eating well? Moving your body? Relaxing your shoulders? Getting time outdoors in the sunshine? Are you connecting with friends (even a short text can brighten your day or someone else’s).

    If you need someone to connect with please do not hesitate to reach out to us. It is critical during this time that no one is or even feels alone. 

    Are there boundaries you need to put in place with relationships that are causing anxiety right now? Do you need to “take a break” (in real life or just on social media) with someone? We don’t always need to know every belief or thought that comes into each of our friend’s heads even though Facebook has given us the ability to do so! 

If you need prayer for anything, you can reach out to either of us (April or Shane) via email or text. We are here for you.

We love you and continue to pray for God’s Spirit to lead us through this difficult time. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore.

In God’s peace,

Shane and April