Prayers for Charleston, and Ways to Help

I was just in Charleston last Thursday and Friday for work, speaking at a workshop for colleagues. I spent Thursday in awe of the historic, beautiful, hospitable city. Never would I have imagined that a week later, such tragedy could happen there.

My heart grieves for the families involved. The idea that within our places of worship, places that we should feel safest, such terror could invade completely tears apart my heart.

Katie, at Hope Engaged, shared some really helpful ways you and I can engage in the aftermath to help bring healing. I’d encourage you to click over, and read about the lives the victims led working for Christ’s kingdom and learn the deeper history of Emmanuel AME church . I’d encourage you to explore the ways you can help with prayers, donations and action, too.

I could get lost in deep theological discussion of pain in such a broken world, such brokenness in God’s creation. But at the end of the day, words fall flat. Pain remains and we are left with pieces to pick up and hearts to help heal. Moreover, in the face of tragedy, I’m left today thinking over what Frederick Buechner had to say about being the light in the midst of darkness and of working to change things.

What if anything have you and I done to do battle against the great darkness of things? As parents and the children of our own parents, as wives and husbands and friends and lovers, as players of whatever parts we have chosen to play in this world, as wielders of whatever kind of power, as possessors of whatever kind of wealth, what other human selves have we sacrificed something of our own sweet selves to help and heal?

“Bear fruit that befits repentance!” thunders the Baptist. “Give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon us the armor of light,” whispers the prayer we pray. Bear fruit. Put on light like a garment, like a uniform. That is the place to stop and also the place to start. It is the place to stop and think — think back, think ahead, think deep. It is the place to start and be.

[Published in Secrets in the Dark]

As we sing each year at Christmas at my church, I do hope that this is the place, the moment, to start and to be… “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be. With God as our Father, family all are we. Let us love one another in perfect harmony.” Stand up in the face of darkness, preach love where there is hate, share grace and healing where there is hurt, and love every. single. one.

 

Prayers for peace, and plenty of love,

Ashley

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