I looked at their faces this morning and sighed. “God, help us.” One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Lives.
They say a cat has nine lives. But, how many lives does hate have? Why won’t it die? How does it continue to live after this? How can we let it live on in us after this?
Two years ago, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Myra Thompson, Rev. DePayne Middleton- Doctor and Rev. Daniel Simmons went to church and were murdered by twenty- one year old Dylann Roof. As both a pastor and a parishioner, this hurts in places I can’t get to and it messes with my faith.
The only death that I think about while in church is that of Christ’s but there’s no crime tape. No body bag. No bullets. No blood.
The Holy Scriptures talk about God as a place of safety and refuge. And for hate to show up in a place where African Americans have gone to shield themselves from the assaults of society, find solace and support, express themselves apart from the restrictions of the social construct of race and to be seen and fully accepted is tragically unfair. For this sacred space, a “church home” to be targeted by hate is incomprehensible.
I don’t know what to say or where to find the words to express this grief. It goes down deep. I shuffle my feet and begin to put my head between my knees. I think that I am going to be sick.
“God help us.”