I hadn't planned to write about what happened in Charleston this week. I haven't known what to say, and I didn't want to say the wrong thing. Goodness knows, there are plenty of people out there saying wrong things. Then I read this post. I don't want to be complicit. Racism is not okay. "Staying silent about racism supports racism."
I keep hoping our world has moved beyond seeing each other with hate for the way we were created. I keep hoping our world has learned lessons about loving each other, about holding a hand out to those in need. Some of us have, and for that, and I am grateful.
Why is it so hard to understand that the shortest distance between two people, no matter how different they seem to be, is their story? I've found varying attributions to this thought, one being my friend Patti Digh. But it seems to be true. If we would simply listen to each other's stories, we might find a bridge being built where before there was misunderstanding, fear, and hatred.
I hope I'm preaching to the choir on this one. Please let it be so.
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.