Monday, June 22, 2015


Clockwise from top L; Susie Jackson--Sharonda Coleman-Singleton-DePayne Doctor--Ethel Lance--Daniel Simmons Sr--Clementa Pinckney--Cynthia Hurd--Tywanza Sanders

What happened in at the AME Church in Charleston, S.C. contains a message for all of us.  Racism and hatred can be mortal sins.  Our country must renounce them, and the violence tools that inflict their pain, if we wish redemption.  May the Lord bless and comfort the people of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and their whole community.

Jesus Calms the Storm -- From yesterday's Gospel, Mk 4:35-41
"Who is this whom both the wind and the sea obey?"

The terrible mystery of this young white man, assassin for an idea.  Who can attend a prayer and scripture meeting for one hour and then shoot to kill?  But isn’t that what we are training our young people across the globe to do—the troops or insurgents with their chaplain or imam, almost every day of war, pray and then pass the ammunition?  {And multiple movies, websites and video games celebrate mass violence.}
Racism and War are co-conspirators

h, but they shoot enemies.  Yes, with every enemy some mother’s son, or father’s daughter.  God sent His Son to tell us this is not the way—is never the way.  Some Christians say that though we are individually to be filled with His nonviolent love and mercy, we must be able to bodily defend ourselves collectively, kill for the good of family and society.  We can take up sword if necessary to protect God’s worldly kingdoms, until Christ comes to reclaim us in the rapture of end times.

My Catholic church also has taught that one has the right and duty of self-defense with lethal force if need dictates.  Kill rather than be killed.  This dictum dates from the time of St. Ambrose, St Augustine, and Emperor Constantine some 300 years after Jesus.  It is not the same as His Good News—He lives dies and is resurrected in the Gospels—which was bad news for the nations of the world, as they required subjects to fight, to preserve a Holy Roman Empire, and every empire since.

Survival, by any means necessary, is the prime directive of every nation state and faction—in contrast, each and every one of us individuals is destined to die.

t is true we must courageously confront evil with every moral fiber of our being, dependent on the inspired grace of God.  Yet we are promised salvation and eternal life if only we follow Jesus’ example and directive, “Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you.”  We are all sinners but redeemed, as we join with Him in his mercy, even at point of death by execution, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

There are supremacist ideologies that must be combated with all our heart and soul.  For hatred is weak love, as Thomas Merton said, and reserves for itself privatized idolatries.  God’s love welcomes all.  The beloved community of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is showing us the way—forgiveness, and putting away the swords of weapons and hatred. 

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”  --  Dr. Martin Luther King

Lorraine Hotel, Memphis, TN, on day Martin Luther King was assassinated, April 4, 1968

And in the NYT 6-20-15
“The occasion was a bond hearing, the first court appearance of the suspect, Dylann Roof, for the murders, thought to be racially motivated, of nine black men and women during Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night.
It was as if the Bible study had never ended as one after another, victims’ family members offered lessons in forgiveness, testaments to a faith that is not compromised by violence or grief. They urged him to repent, confess his sins and turn to God.”  Full story of forgiveness at this site --
 Be Not Afraid

Pope Francis has just released his encyclical on the need for justice and truth, as we respect our environment, our planet earth, and the rights of the world's poor.   Please take time, and begin to read and pray, here --

Illuminations by Kathy Brahney

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