I was appalled to learn that some group in the U.K. has declared today “Punish a Muslim Day” and sent fliers to incite people to join them. If that were not enough, they are awarding points for actions taken against Muslims. “Verbally abuse a Muslim” is worth 10 points. “Butcher a Muslim” is worth 500 points. And “Nuke Mecca” is worth 2500 points. If one wonders whether there is evil in the world, this bears witness to it.
Yesterday morning many people stopped by their local church to have ashes placed on their foreheads. As the mark of the cross was made, the following words were spoken, “From dust you came and to dust you shall return.” It is a thought-provoking phrase that sends us on our Lenten journeys.
When I made my profession of faith, which is like confirmation, the pastor presented me with a Bible with a verse highlighted especially for me. My verse was from Romans: “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans” (8:26, The Message). To be honest, I didn’t like the verse.
There has been a flurry of posts, articles, emails, etc., about what we should all be doing to oppose the hatred and rage we have seen rise from the white supremacists and neo-Nazis within the alt-Right movement. It reached its pinnacle in its expression in Charlottesville, and we are all still reeling wondering how this is possible in this age, in this country, and in this time of enlightened thinking.
Disbelief, numb, surreal, pain, anger, confusion…, these are a few of the words that describe how I feel after the tragic loss of life in Orlando four days ago. We now have all had to go back to our responsibilities and do our jobs, yet thoughts about this linger in the recess of our minds.