Text: Mark 5:21-43
It is hard to know where to begin this morning. The grief that still fills our hearts as we have watched this past week the families in Charleston bury their loved ones—our sisters and brothers in faith—is at times overwhelming. The pain of the Mother Emanuel Church shooting will linger in our nation’s soul for days and months and years to come, as it should. It is beyond imagination to think about how they will move beyond the atrocity that took place in their house of worship—a place that is to be sanctuary. And yet, in these last days, we have witnessed their courage, their will, and their commitment, even in the face of unimaginable hatred, as they have continued to be God’s people of love, grace, compassion and even forgiveness. Not a cheap forgiveness. But a forgiveness that holds accountable the systems within our society that perpetuate and propagate acts of violence of one race over another.
God, forgive us.
In these last ten or so days we have experienced the lowest lows and the highest highs. We have been challenged to hold the tension of deep despair and profound joy. In a victory for millions of Americans our highest court of the land protected affordable healthcare for all. Two days later, for advocates of marriage equality and specifically for the LGBTQ community, that same court upheld the basic principle of the 14th Amendment—equal protection of the law—and granted same-sex couples the right to legally marry in all 50 states. But yet, in the midst of those decisions, decisions that protected individuals who are so often the most vulnerable in our society, we read about more terror attacks that racked Tunisia, France and Kuwait. In the last week, before I could absorb one event another was taking place. With each new day I wondered, “Will the next event bring more despair or a bit of hope. Have you, too, felt that way?