Thursday, June 25, 2015

Here is the church

A couple of weeks ago, as I rocked Gracie to sleep, I started to teach her an old nursery rhyme I'd forgotten about.
I took her hands and folded them together-here is the church
I raised her index fingers- here is the steeple
I opened her hands and waggled her fingers- open it up and here are the people!
She loved it as much as I had and made me repeat it over and over until she had the motions just right.

A week ago yesterday, a gunman walked into a church- the Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, SC, where we live- and killed 9 people as they attended Bible Study. The man was white and the victims were black. He reportedly killed in order to "start a race war". By all reports, the people in that church were some of the best of the best. Christians in every sense of the word. The actions of their families and friends in the aftermath of this tragedy speaks to that more than anything else.

The outpouring of love that enveloped this city in the days to follow has truly been remarkable. I have watched the morning news with tears flowing down my face, as black and white and all races and hands and arms have come together to embrace. We cannot fool ourselves into believing that racism is not alive and well, but what I have seen time and time again this week is that there is hope. And love. A lot of love.

We went to church this Sunday and Gracie sat in my lap. At the end of the service, we stood to sing the last hymn. Somewhere along the way she took my hands into hers and and started to move them.

"We shall overcome, we shall overcome"
Here is the church
"We shall overcome someday;"
Here is the steeple
"Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, "
Open it up and here are the people
"We shall overcome someday"