A brief comment on Charlottesville, VA, USA, Aug. 11-12
This past weekend a rally called “Unite the Right” was held in Charlottesville, VA, here in the U.S. It was a gathering of various white supremacists and white nationalists, including neo-Nazis and the KKK, among others. There were also counter-protests including a group of clergy who marched and prayed against the sin of white supremacy. Violence broke out at various points during the weekend while law enforcement seemed unprepared for the scope of the event. One woman died and 19 were injured when one man drove his car full speed into a crowd of counter-protesters. Two police officers also died when the helicopter they were using to monitor the situation crashed. The whole thing is sickening and heartbreaking.
We both changed the direction of our sermons to address the situation, as we imagine many of you did, but we were still able to use some of the material from last week’s show, in particular the work of D. Mark Davis that we mentioned. His article on Jesus walking on the sea suggests that this miracle was part of a larger demonstration of the kind of power Jesus would wield, namely, walking with God and not using a crowd to begin a violent rebellion or revolution. This week’s passage about the Canaanite woman begging the reluctant Jesus to heal her daughter furthers our belief that the same Kingdom of God that won’t resort to mob violence also crosses well-established racial, ethnic, and social boundaries to include more and more, rather than dividing and subjugating.
We take our stand with the Jesus of the gospels in rejecting violence, racism, segregation, and hatred.
- We pray for the victims of violence to be healed.
- We pray for the bereft to be comforted. We pray for the hard-hearted to be transformed by the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ, who himself grew to love people outside his initial scope.
- We pray for the people of Charlottesville, as they come to terms with these events, that they may be strengthened as a community of healing, peace, and justice.
- We pray that people of goodwill everywhere will stand with courage against the evils of hatred and with powerful demonstrations of love.
This comment is included in our podcast episode for August 20, 2017.