Once again our hearts break.
Two more African-American men have been killed by police officers.
And now five officers in Dallas have been struck down as they attempted to keep the peace during a rally protesting police violence and honoring those dead black men. Several other people who were part of the peace rally have been wounded.
We try to make sense of this to ourselves and our children, and there is no logic, no sense, no explanation. We face an epidemic of violence for which it seems there is no cure.
There will be candlelight vigils and memorials this weekend–like the vigils in Ferguson and Baltimore, in Paris and Brussels, in Charleston and Orlando. It would be easy to admit our weariness, to say, “Why bother? A candlelight vigil will not bring back those who were killed. A candlelight vigil won’t shield anyone from a police officer who misuses his service revolver, or from a crazy person with an automatic weapon.”
But by those candles we signify God’s grace and hope in the world. We believe that there is an alternative to the dark night we are living through. They are the symbols by which we say that “there is a better way, and we are here to make that better way come to pass. We will not give up. This nightmare is not where we want to be, as people of faith or as Americans.” It is important to come together to make that powerful statement.
I invite your prayers for the dead and for those who must go on living without them. I invite your thanksgivings for the first responders who protect us at the cost of their lives. I invite your action to support sane gun legislation. And I invite your commitment to eliminate racism from our society.
Racism is the original sin of the United States, the nightmare that haunts our dream of equality and justice, the ugly branding iron that has scarred every one of us, both black and white, from our nation’s beginnings until today. This is our heart of darkness.
God calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves, to be neighbors to all–not just those who look like us or think like us or worship like us. That is God’s commandment, the God who created all in God’s image—black, brown and white, women and men, gay and straight together.
In this very dark time of anxiety and fear may we be models of love, patience and strength, just as Jesus was, knowing that the light will outshine the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.