Reflections on the Derek Chauvin Verdict

The institution held. Thank God the institution held.

I wept the night of January 6 when the United States Senate voted to accept the certification of Joe Biden as President of the country.

I wept again when Judge Peter Cahill read the jury’s verdict, that Derek Chauvin was guilty of second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.

I wept because our nation is in the process of tearing itself apart because of racial and political divisions. But these institutions of the Congress and the Judiciary, though battered, have held…for now.

Civilizations change. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. The United States has shown that it can become better and less bigoted and vicious towards its own. But it has also, at times, become worse.

But we are better when we are not cut adrift in an ocean of rage. And it is the precious institutions of government that give us time to breathe and think and return to our better angels. We need to keep improving our institutions, and we need to be able to trust them.

When Donald Trump was president he tore at the fragile fabric of our institutions in his arrogant tweet storms and many of his actions. We have a better President now; but Joe Biden and Maxine Waters should have shown more restraint and more deference to the institution of the judiciary than they did in these past few days. They disappointed us all. They both deserve to be censured; and I hope they think better of it in the days ahead.

But today, April 20, as on January 6, 2021, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

The institutions, for now, have held. Thank God!

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About John

John is a retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who has served congregations for over 40 years, including in rural, suburban, campus ministry and urban settings. His love of Border Collie sheepdogs has been fortified by his many friendships with shepherds all around the world. Nothing he has ever or will ever accomplish is as significant as the patience God, his wife and his friends have shown in putting up with his deficiencies.
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