Last Sunday was HARD. Our nation watched as the news reported on a shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. A white supremacist opened fire on the Sikh temple and several worshippers died.
It's hard because people died. It's hard because it is violent and full of hate. It is hard because it reminds me how much I take for granted my ability as a white, privileged woman preacher to worship God in peace. I read in scripture how Christians were persecuted for their faith, for their ethnicity, for their race. Yet today, I do not experience that persecution. I watch as friends do.
I got to know a few Sikhs in Atlanta through an interfaith group. We got together once a month (Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Muslims) and sat in silence because words got in the way. We took turns telling the story of our faith and our tradition, meeting one another in those stories and growing a deep bond. It only took some time spent together, getting to know one another, walking into the sacred space of silence and prayer together, and that experience allowed us to pay attention to the ways that God can move over and between the barriers we create to connect people and allow them to grow relationships of mutual respect.
I yearn for the day when all people will be respected and valued. When hatred and violence will not have the last word. When we can quiet our own opinions, judgments, and hate long enough to see our brother and sister as an equal. As one worthy of peace and justice. Love and respect.
My heart is heavy this week for my Sikh brothers and sisters. Praying for them as they experience this hatred and grief. Praying for justice. Praying for healing. Praying for peace.
If you're in San Francisco, I invite you to join me this Sunday at 9:00 PM in Union Square for a Community Vigil for the families of those that were killed worshipping in the Sikh Temple. The vigil is sponsored by the California Council of Churches. And if you're reading this from afar...please be in prayer with us. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.