Lamenting Charlottesville

Oh, God…

I don’t even know what to say. My soul aches today. My heart is breaking. But it’s been breaking for a long time, I suppose. It’s just that the events last night in Charlottesville have re-awakened me to the pain.

Your children were praying, Lord. Praying.

They were praying and torch-wielding men and women came down on them, surrounded them in that church, and threatened them with racist taunts and Nazi slogans.

I’ve been watching from afar. My grief and my worry spilling out to you with each new word I hear about what is happening.

And then that car, today, Lord.

Why?

Why would you let something like that happen?

An act of terrorism meant to frighten anyone who thinks differently than those who were terrorizing your praying children in that church with Nazi salutes and torches. Last night they threatened to kill. Today they killed.

My question, God, is where are you?

Can’t you hear the blood calling out from the ground?

Can’t you hear the prayers of your children.

I wept for a stranger today.  A person I do not know. A victim of hate and anger and violence… a victim of a white supremacist movement which has always proven it’s dangerous, but lulled us into rest with a relative silence over the years. We thought maybe the worst of it was over.

But they came for your children with torches, Lord.

They ran over them like dogs in the street.

And to hear the justifications coming from all over the country–the blame placed not on the torch-wielding neo-Nazis tormenting your children in churches, but in the people who came out to stand against the hatred, to declare that this cannot remain in our city, in our nation, in our world. This destructive hatred which only destroys climbed into a car and murdered. And people are defending it, Lord.

Worst yet, Lord, is that many of these people who are defending this murder are calling themselves your Children, your followers. They are telling the world that you have blessed this violence, this showing of hatred. They are telling people it was you who lit those torches.

They are telling people you do not cherish the non-white, the non-male, the non-Christian… that you do not love all your children.

Oh, God. What is happening down here?

I pray fervently that Your Kingdom would come. Eradicate this hatred until nothing can stand before you but that which shines with your goodness.

But in this moment when it seems silence reigns, let me hear your voice. Let me be courageous enough to answer. Let me be prophetic enough to speak against hatred and racist notions of supremacy and acts of terrorism against your children.

And hasten the day when your presence dwells with us here, when your goodness stands above all the evil and we all feast at your table together.

Amen.

 

(Note: This white, Christian preacher categorically denounces any act of terrorism and white supremacy being propagated by anyone in Christ’s name. Christ did not come to destroy all that did not look like him, but instead opened the Kingdon of Heaven to Jew and Gentile alike. A torch-bearing mob shouting Nazi slogans and throwing Nazi salutes cannot now, or ever, be mistaken as a true representation of Christ or Christ’s church. Evil comes to destroy, God’s Goodness comes to bring life.  What has happened in Charlottesville over the weekend has been the result of rising tensions and anger, much of the rhetoric ignored by the larger community, me included, which grew to a fever-pitch and has begun taking lives. It is terrorism and it is evil incarnate in our world. We must stand against it. We must declare with our voices, with our bodies, and with our actions, that it will not stand in the presence of God. Let the light of prayer candles outshine the burning flames of torches. Let’s be the people of God.)

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