May Our Prayers Move Us To Action: Grieving in Solidarity with Mother Emanuel AME Church:

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Today I have a heavy heavy heart. Today I am grieving in solidarity with the loved ones of the nine beautiful lives that were so hatefully taken from them. Today I am grieving with Mother Emanuel AME Church and the surrounding community of Charleston, my friends and colleagues in the AME Church, and all of my black and brown brothers and sisters who continue to experience hateful violence because deeply ingrained racism still exists.

I am grieving, I am praying, I am repenting.

There is much needed prayer today.

But our prayers must not end with an “Amen.” They must also lead us to action.

This is not just an isolated incident. We must recognize the horrifying sin that America was founded on: white supremacy. And we must acknowledge that the deep forms of racism and white supremacy continue to pervade our country today. We must repent of our participation in and our benefiting from the unjust systems that continue to privilege white people and deem people of color as “less than.” We must speak out and work hard to expose, denounce, and tear down all forms of racism – whether the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church or the police brutality in Baltimore, Ferguson, Cleveland, Chicago…, whether they are actions that we believe to be “harmless” like racist jokes and stereotyping, or whether they are acts of denying and ignoring white privilege and racism.

We must recognize that silence is complicity.

Because hateful acts like these continue to occur when we remain silent.

Because hateful acts like these continue to occur when we don’t work to end all forms of racism and hate until there are none.

Because black lives do in fact matter. They matter to God and they should matter to us.

St. Theresa of Avila’s words come to mind today:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

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