It feels like it exploded, anyways. I try not to flood my sensibilities with too much news; I know that makes for a skewed worldview. But, I have to balance that with making sure I’m informed. “Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.” This quote has been attributed to noted theologian, Karl Barth. After the news out of Charlottesville, Virginia this past week, I have to say, I’m seriously trying to put that wisdom into practice.
Jeff reminded us of the words from the prophet, Micah, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Paul’s letter to the church in Rome reminds us, “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.” And 1 John tells us, “If people say, “I love God,” but hate their brothers or sisters, they are liars. Those who do not love their brothers or sisters, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen.”
I cannot help but feel that when we hurl hatred at someone, or a group of people, we are denying their humanity, which diminishes all our humanity. When some shouts out slurs to Jews, they are shouting slurs at the very Christ I follow. (These thoughts were shared by a friend, Rebecca Akers, with whom I completely agree.) If we are all created in the image of God, then ALL means ALL. We are supposed to be one human family. That does not mean there aren’t differences; there are! There is beauty in our diversity, but there is also work, hard work.
Nelson Mandela said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I have decided to stick with Love. Hate is too great a burden.” I just keep asking God, in all His or Her tender mercies, to intervene…and the only response I’m getting is, “I am, that’s why you are so distraught.” Anti-Racism activist Aditi Juneja asks, “If you’ve wondered what you would’ve done during slavery, the Holocaust, or Civil Rights Movement…you’re doing it now.”
Each week, when we gather as a community of faith to pray the Lord’s Prayer, we plea, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The Rev. William O. Gafkjen, bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops shared a prayer which included, “…empower us in our own communities to follow their [those who work for peace] lead as fellow servants to your dream of a community in which all people and their gifts are welcomed and honored, cherished and celebrated as beloved children of a just, merciful and loving God…”
And, while this seems to be a post filled with quotes, I’ll share one more with you: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing.” This quote is by Edmund Burke: author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher. His work was greatly influenced by the same philosophers who influenced our nation’s founding fathers.
I pray you not remain silent, but denounce racism and bigotry in all its forms, but do so from a heart filled with the love and grace offered to us through our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.