This blog will be two parts…the first is literally as current as today’s news.
In my reflections on June 2015, a major focus was devoted to the martyrdom and aftermath of nine worshipers at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, June 17.
What happened in Charleston was a seminal moment that captured the attention of the world and sealed it with the dignity and benevolence shown by family members who justifiably could have shown anger even bitterness in their grief but chose the more excellent way of love and forgiveness.
As countless others, I was deeply moved by those whose lives had shown grace and generosity even before they walked into Bible study that Wednesday night. In some small way I wanted to add a line of solidary with those who felt the need to honor those nine lives in some small way.
Then on Saturday, July 4th, by the grace of God, I was in Columbia, S. C. with a friend who was attending a wedding. When I heard there would be a rally at the State House to protest flying the confederate battle flag on the capitol grounds and realizing the evil connection that vile symbol likely contributed to the martyrdom of the nine worshipers, I knew I had to be at the rally.
Having left my cell phone about 250 miles away the day before, having no transportation other than the unfamiliar city bus service, not knowing exactly where on the capitol grounds the protest would be, having been urgently warned against going downtown alone to an area I did not know without a phone by the hotel receptionist, with the hotel being approximately 12 miles from the State House, I went.
Know that I am not rash in my behavior…well not much. I usually plan things meticulously and am very methodical in doing it. Not so last Saturday. I prayed God’s leading and guidance and trusted. Then I made a Declaration of Independence from fear of circumstances and “logic” that precluded my going because my declaration of such independence was not based on me but on my dependence on God's grace and mercy.
I fully realize that my being or not being at the State House last Saturday would not have changed what would take place today nor would it in and of itself lessen the grief the families feel, but I do believe it in some small way contributed to the humanity I seek to live and evidence daily; and so, I am very thankful for having stepped out on faith. When I saw the flag lowered and taken down today, it was bittersweet to witness the flag I saw flying high on the pole behind the confederate statue on July 4th, the Nation’s and my brother’s birthday come down less than a week later on July 10, 2015, my birthday. It was a wonderful gift, but it was purchased at great cost.