“In the last few days, we have seen acts of violence in which children of God have been killed.” So began Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s message yesterday.
As I listened to the stark reality of his words, tears began to stream down my face for the first time since a renewed trifecta of bloodshed began in our country. First Baton Rouge, then St. Paul, then Dallas. An unholy Trinity in three unholy days of pain and violence and bloodshed and murder in cold blood, all in the name of what? Justice? Revenge?
Children of God. This is who we are. Every man, woman, and child on this earth we all call home. The Book of Genesis tells Jews and Christians that each and every one of us is created in the image of God. And on the sixth day when God created us, God saw that we were not just good, but very good.
There are no qualifying words here. All of us. Very good. Blacks, Hispanics, Whites, Asians, poor, rich, straight, gay. Whether it’s white police killing blacks, blacks killing white cops, Muslims killing gays, Latinos, Christians, or Jews, there is one significant undeniable fact that is left out of the equation.
We are all created in the image of God and God did not create any second or third or fourth-rate people. Not one. So why do we live as if this were not so?
I have asked myself this over and over, and there’s not one easy answer. However, evil has existed in our world since the beginning of time. Just as sure as there is purity and goodness and love, there is hatred and evil and all that goes with it. Cosmic battles of good and evil play out in books, on movie screens, and in people’s lives every day. What I have found in my ministry and life, is that the more goodness exists in the world, the more evil rises up to fight it, to squelch it, to snuff it out forever.
For many acts of goodness, there are counter actions of evil to fight it if we are not on our toes and persistent in our resistance. We must be vigilant and aware that this is possible and fight it. How? With love, with prayer, and with the action that flows from that.
Scripture tells us, “Perfect love casts out fear.” And fear lies at the heart of the violence we have all just witnessed to our abject horror. Fear of the other. Fear of those who do not look like us, worship like us, have the same color skin as us, come from the same country as us, just aren’t like us. Are “other”.
Perfect love does indeed cast out fear. Not just love, but perfect love, which can only come from the source of all love, all goodness, and that is God. Then we need to act, do something, anything to stand up to the evil that is all around us. Desmond Tutu has written, “Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
I pray for our country. I pray for the families and people personally affected by this latest trifecta of tragedy. I pray for the souls and well-being of all of us, for children of God have been killed. On our watch.
While we may feel helpless to change anything, we are not. There is something each one of us can do. Let’s do our own little bits of good however we are called to do so, wherever we find ourselves. Let’s overwhelm the world – together.