Place: treadmill at the gym

Time: 4:30 a.m.

What: When I heard about the mass shooting in a historically black church in Charleston, S.C.

Why: That is my question. Why does anyone come to a prayer meeting with a group of people, sit with them for a time, and then pull a gun and kill them? How can anyone hear another person praying–praying!–and kill that person? But really, I know the answer. Hate.

My second question: How will the community respond? Will this spark violence? Or will this community join together and support the church? Will we see everyone, regardless of race, say, “This should NEVER happen! Black lives matter. We won’t tolerate injustice, racial oppression, anything that stands in the way of true equality. We will not allow this to destroy our community. We will not allow this act of hatred to bring more hatred into the world. We will stand together!” Will we see that? That’s what I wondered.

As I walked on the treadmill, I prayed for this church, these victims, these survivors, their families, everyone touched by their lives. I was in tears as I saw the initial response. Tears, yes, but also people holding hands, responding with the most powerful weapon a human has: prayer.

I want to say this to these courageous, grieving, praying people:

You inspire me. So often, I feel my prayers are bouncing off a ceiling, like God isn’t paying attention.

You have reminded me that God is listening. That he does feel our pain. That he does grieve over injustice, like we do. That he does feel outrage and holy anger over racism and oppression and injustice. That he uses us, faulty and flawed as we are, to bring about justice and reconciliation. That to him, lives matter: not just mine, not just white people’s lives, but your life, in ways we can’t even comprehend because they’re so vast and deep. When I watched you praying, I sensed that you know your lives–your black lives–matter to God. Keep praying.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by these deaths.


13 thoughts on “#blacklivesmatter

  1. Strong words, Laura, for a broken, broken time. Prayer, reconciliation, peace – these are the things of God. That hateful and hate-filled violence that took those lives is not.


  2. “That he uses us, faulty and flawed as we are, to bring about justice and reconciliation.”
    So true, Laura. A appreciate your response to this tragedy, of prayer and grief, over such a brazen display of hatred. I am attaching a link to an article I read recently that addresses how to serve in the midst of suffering.

    She writes that overcoming our own human tendency to look away when atrocities occur is really the starting place. I realized that I will never be helpful unless I am willing to enter into the suffering of others.
    Thank you for sharing this.


  3. I find that part about not looking away from atrocities really powerful. I’ve heard that being an artist requires never looking away, no matter how ugly life is, but I never thought of it in connection with service. It’s true. Jesus certainly never looked away from the ugly and depraved, did He?


  4. I was so shocked to hear of this horrific crime in Charleston. It’s powerful to see the church members continue to pray and trust that God sees and is outraged by what has happened.


    1. Thanks for reading, Jeannie. I read another news story saying that this act of terrorism was the worst church massacre in U.S. history. So hard to hear. I hope that the nation wakes up to just how horrible racial hatred is and unifies us to work to stop it.


  5. Yes, black/all lives matter….my little Tuesday Tea group (that now meets on Thursdays) were discussing today how we can (and NEED!) to “do something”…I think it’s important for all of us to “do something” that encourages all of us to work together to stop this total nonsense. It makes me sick to my stomach and my heart aches…..such a senseless act of cowardice……As usual, Laura, a well thought out, written piece….. 🙂


      1. One of my group (that I affectionately call the “jail bird” in my blog!) is a member of our “social action committee” at church. Our thing, right now, is educating and participating in every (and any) protests to make more people aware. Our book groups (at church) are reading and discussing the topic and coming up with various strategies to assist our community. Have you heard of Tim Wise’s film, “White Like Me”???? It’s a start for discussion. My suggestion: Get your friends/church group involved in this (if, of course, they’re not already involved). Alone it can seem impossible to tackle, but in numbers, Sweetie, we’re strong!!!! Individually use your talent as a writer…you’re gifted with the written word…use your gift… ❤ And remember: we are never alone…Namaste

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