Like you I was horrified by the events in Charlottesville, Virginia two weekends ago. It was extremely disturbing to watch white nationalists, the KKK, and other racist groups parading while shouting such hateful statements. It was heartbreaking to learn of the car ramming into a group of counter-protestors, causing one woman’s death and multiple injuries. And it was deeply distressing to hear the President refuse to call out the hate groups and make it clear their hatred is unwelcome in our country, their acts of aggression will not be tolerated.
There is a lot I want to do about this situation, so much I want to say. But before I can do or say anything I must first connect with God. I must take a moment to be still and listen and identify with my true self: with the small “i am” that reflects the image of the GREAT I AM. If I don’t, I will most likely act and speak from my false self, that self that is caught up in politics and alliances, focused on being right all the time, and operates from a place of fear. That will lead to further divisions. And ultimately, that will only lead to more events like last weekend.
Thus, I must find that space where I am deeply loved by God. Only in that space will I recognize that everyone else – including the people that don’t look like me or worship like me or act like me or even protest like me – is deeply loved by God as well. We are all deeply loved by God. From that place I may begin to see white supremacists and nationalists as God does. I may begin to understand the basis of their hatred – the fear of poverty, loss of jobs, loss of place and identity, etc. I may begin to consider how I can help. I may begin to pray for peace.
If we can do this, then maybe we can begin to have conversations about what happens next after Charlottesville. And maybe we can figure out how to heal.
Prayer Bead Devotion
Cross: God of Peace,
Invitatory Bead: and God of All,
Resurrection Bead: who came in the flesh to save the whole world:
First Cruciform Bead: Forgive us for the hatred that fills our hearts.
Week Beads, Set 1: Use each bead to confess the places of fear in your own heart. Who do you hate? Who do you not have any tolerance for? Where are your lines of division? Who is out and who is in?
Second Cruciform Bead: Forgive us for the fear that leads to such hatred.
Week Beads, Set 2: Use each bead to name the fears that produce hate in your heart. Who or what are you afraid of? Consider the fears the are behind the hatred of others. Who or what do you think they are afraid of?
Third Cruciform Bead: Help us to know how to allay these fears. Grant us courage to do so.
Week Beads, Set 3: Use each bead to consider how to allay your fears and/or the fears of others. What can you do on a systemic level? What can you do on an interpersonal level? What can you do on a spiritual level?
Fourth Cruciform Bead: Guide us in discerning the next steps towards peace. What can we do to bring peace and an end to hatred and prejudice? How can we bridge the divisions in our communities?
Week Beads, Set 4: Use each bead to listen for God’s guidance.
Resurrection Bead: In the name of Jesus Christ,
Invitatory Bead: the Prince of Peace,
Listening Focus (to be repeated with each bead): Let peace begin with me.