The whole Rachel Dolezal stuff evaporates instantly when a 21 year old white man gets himself invited to Wednesday night scripture study at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. After sitting for an hour beside the pastor and among a group of God-fearing folks, he stands up and shoots them. In church. With the echoes of the Lords words still floating in the air. His heart is full of blackness, malice, hatred. It is a massacre, a blood bath, a sacrifice. Martyrs. All nine of those God-fearing people martyred in Christ’s name. I imagine most were still holding their Bibles, dog-eared and written in. Corners of their favorite passages folded or the spines so accustom to the preference, the book falls open with ease. Maybe the bibles laid about the lost, open to their favorite verse, the books speaking softly as their souls rose up.
And they rose.
I hope they lingered – maybe still linger – watching the amazing outcome. A city – the South’s Holy City – pulling together in their grief. Pulling together in prayer, with love. Holding hands. Singing hymns. Weeping. Forgiving. FORGIVING.
I heard a man interviewed on NPR. He and his wife had come to bring flowers to the make-shift memorial on the sidewalk before Emanuel AME. He said, “We had to come. They are our neighbors. We love them. They are good people.” Short sentences. With periods at the ends. No qualifiers or modifiers. No commas. He did not say, “They are good people, for black people.” NO! Hatred has qualifiers and modifiers. Love does not. Love is blind to skin color.
This despicable act was perpetrated on a black church, a gathering of black people praying. But their blackness is not a modifier as to why we love them. We love all of God’s people. Love is love. And I love my neighbors. Period. They are good people. Period.
God is good. Period.