Friday, June 19, 2015

Charleston's Sorrow

photo by Alby Headrick / flickr

Nine people were gunned down in Charleston as they prayed in their church Wednesday evening. As I read about that massacre at that church I remembered back to my Birmingham days. When four little black girls, dressed in their finery were killed in a racist bomb blast. in the sixties  After the dust settled and the rebuilding was sadly going on--the children of Wales took up money and fashioned this window which dominates the 16th Street Church there. In the stained glass memorial Jesus stretches out his hands in a cruciform way. Underneath the beautiful window are the words: "You do it unto me..."

There are no words to respond to what happened in that Charleston Church.

We do not know what terrible tributaries merged into this young man's mind that did the shooting...

We do know his father gave him the gun that was used in the shooting...

We do know that the city still grieves over the black man shot in the back by a policeman there just weeks ago... 

We do know that the poison that has flowed through our society since a black man has been elected president is so destructive...

We do know that the hatemongers still rant over the radio and the internet day after day...

We do know some politicians are ignoring the nine black people and talk piously about the attack on churches in our time...

We do know that even though the American flag is at half mast in the Columbia (SC) State capitol--the Confederate flag flies high in the wind there...

We do know that stupid slogan: "Guns don't kill people--people do..." sounds a little hollow in Charleston this morning...

 We do know the same Jesus who put his arms around that church in Birmingham and all those grieving parents has moved down to Charleston and touches all those black and white who mourn ...

 We do know we still have a long way to go and much work to do. We lift up our brothers and sisters in Charleston who have lost so much--and the whole nation.

Langston Hughes, black poet expresses it for me:

"At the feet o' Jesus
Sorrow like a sea.
Lordy, let yo' mercy 
Come driftin' down on me.

At the feet o' Jesus
At yo' feet I stand.
O, ma little Jesus, 
Please reach yo' hand."

Statue at Gethsemani Monastery in Kentucky
given to remember a civil rights worker
from Massachusetts murdered in Missippi.

--Roger Lovette /


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