Advent 2014 – Devotion 12

Prince William and Kate have made their first official visit to the United States. They placed a wreath at the nation September 11 Memorial with a note that read “In sorrowful memory of those who died on 11th September and in admiration of the courage shown to rebuild.”

The courage to rebuild. That is what the US needs now.

The US Senate Intelligence Committee has released a report on the interrogation tactics used following the 9/11 attacks. The findings reveal evidence of torture and extreme inhumane treatment. While the US condemns other countries for human rights violations, we are busy perpetrating those same kinds of violations. We extol the rule of law and then break the law. The world sees our hypocrisy. This is cause for shame and humiliation.

What we need is the courage to rebuild. Rebuild integrity. Rebuild trust. Rebuild accountability. This kind of rebuilding is a long, slow, and laborious process. Yet it is necessary to regain respect. The US government not only needs the courage to rebuild in the eyes of the world, but to rebuild its image in the eyes of its own citizens.

Jesus came to teach us about rebuilding. He showed us that no sin, no error, no past mistakes, no tragedy, nothing is beyond the scope of forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. Redemption, in some form, is always possible. That is another one of the gifts that Jesus gives us. A way back.

But it is up to us whether we have the courage to receive this gift.

For reflection: How do you feel about the US use of torture? How does it make you feel about your country? When have you felt that you have done something that can’t be repaired or restored or redeemed?

Prayer: We pray for courage. We pray for the courage to engage in the long, slow, difficult process of rebuilding. There is much in our lives that needs to be repaired. Our society is in need of restoration. May we not lose heart. May we cultivate courage. And rebuild. Amen.

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