Last weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia, have been weighing heavily on my mind. And on my heart. The images of Friday and Saturday remain with me. Tiki torches. Confederate flags. Helmets and shields. A car ramming into the crowd. Nineteen injured. One dead.
No, I didn’t do a complete re-write of the sermon as some of my clergy friends did. But we prayed for what is not right in our world. We named it for God and for those in our little corner of the world to hear. Racism. White supremacy. Deep divisions in our ways of thinking. In our ways of relating with God’s people.
Apparently, there is more to be said since I am awake at 3 AM Thursday morning, rewriting this week’s ponderings.
Maybe it has something to do with Clifton calling me yesterday from Schuyler to see how Mr. Pat and I were doing. He mentioned the flooding in Schuyler. And his family in Louisiana.
That got me thinking about the diverse community of Schuyler. 50% Latino, nearly 50% Anglo, with a growing number of African and Asian families adding to the mix. I LOVED living there!
I remember proudly the letter that Schuyler Central High School athletic director Jim Kasik wrote toward the end of the school year ("Proud to be a Warrior"), which called attention to the racist remarks Schuyler students hear during sports contests.
I remember my June phone interview with Brad Roth, a Mennonite pastor, writing an article about proclaiming the gospel among rural diversity. In a follow-up email to Brad, I wrote:
My prayer is that we, as humans and as Christians, would be more intentional about engaging with persons who are different from us. That we would not be fearful of the other. That we would not be hurtful or hateful. That we would not just tolerate or accept. That we would take a cue from the children among us, be intentional about "holy mingling" with all others, and find Love there.
May it be so. Grace and peace … --Pastor Pat