We saw the underbelly of American the last two days in Charlottesville, Virginia. People who now feel that they have ‘permission’, even support from people in the government, to spew their hatred and bigotry and racism openly and violently. We saw armed militias carrying Confederate flags marching in goosesteps, white supremacists shouting angry slogans, members of the KKK no longer hiding under bedsheets, but openly proclaiming their part in the election of the president and their right to return America to a white, Christian nation. Hatred consumes these people; something that is NOT a Christian value.
And most tragic of all, we saw a young person from Maumee, Ohio, deliberately drive his car into a group of peaceful counter-protestors, killing at least one innocent bystander just trying to cross the street, and injuring scores of others, some who may still succumb to their injuries. This kind of hatred and violence does not only happen ‘somewhere else’, but right here in our state and our communities. We need to stand against this.
But we also saw a group of people of faith joined together (Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and others) singing This little light of mine in love and fellowship to counter the vitriolic chants of the ultra-conservative Alt-Right, Neo-Nazis, KKK, nationalists, white supremacists, armed militia, and people angry because Charlottesville is going to remove a statue of Robert E Lee from a park called ‘Emancipation Park’.
Most of us cannot make any sense or see any justifiable reason for the actions of those who chose to create discord and spew bigotry and hatred and xenophobia. But, those people of faith chose to take the risk, get out there, arms joined together in solidarity, and do what was right. They chose to get out of the boat! – to risk life and limb to present to the world what the love and teachings of Jesus really are.
They got out of the boat!
So where are you this morning?
Huddled in the boat with a life jacket and your seat belt on?
One leg in, one leg out?
Out of the boat, but fearful, still clinging to the edge?
Or looking with faith into the eyes of Jesus and walking on water?
Let us pray.
Lord Jesus, help us to walk with you wherever this life may take us. Help us to recognize whatever it is that:
Helps us to seek you,
Helps us to trust you,
Helps us to obey your teachings.
Help us to face our fears and trust whatever the storms of life may be, You are there, guiding and redeeming us. Be with those who have died and are injured physically and emotionally from this horrid incident in Charlottesville. Wrap your loving arms around them and the rest of the nation, reminding us that
The greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13)
And give us the strength to get out of the boat.
Excerpted from a sermon (‘If You Want to Walk on Water, You Gotta Get Out of the Boat!’) delivered at Saint John’s Episcopal Church of Worthington and Parts Adjacent, Worthington, OH; 13 August 2017