Today is a day when the church laments.
It laments of white privilege which, by the way, I’ve had more than a handful of “good, God-fearing church members” tell me is fictional. What an ignorant pleasure it must be to ignore truth.
It laments of racism, in which it is (not has-been, is) complicit.
And it honors the Emmanuel 9, gunned down in Bible Study and prayer, after they welcomed the stranger, Dylann Roof, in their midst, a boy taught in a Lutheran church and raised on a supposed diet of grace and peace.
There are no fail-safes in this world, Beloved, not on guns nor gospel perversions.
Today I am reminded of the words of the Reverend William Sloane Coffin, my spiritual mentor and muse, when he said,
“Believers know that while our values are embodied in tradition, our hopes are always located in change.”
So as the Confederate monuments (real and metaphorical) continue to topple around us, as Mary predicted they would in Luke 1:52, we also today lift up our voices in confession for having erected too many racist monuments in our lives by the things we have done and left undone.
Indeed, in many cases the cross, our symbol, has become a racist monument, twisted into the swastika, burned in front of hanging bodies, a barrier between peoples.
But not just those literal monuments. Most especially we repent of all of the figurative ones we erect, too.
Today we cry and lament and work for that change which is the currency of our hope.
(art by Philippe Lazaro)