My Liberty Depends on You Being Free, Too
This Sunday, we enjoy our annual Bridging Ceremony with our graduating young adults! I am grateful to Religious Education Director, Vicki Gavel, for taking on this invaluable endeavor. When you listen and witness these young adults in our church this Sunday during our service, engage them as your itinerate teachers about to take a walk-about!
I have "launched" three kids into that big, wild world... I understand this nerve-racking and exciting time! That world is a challenging, vexing world. Some have called the millennial generation ( born 1981 - 1997) the "Ben Franklin" generation. The Ben Franklins want a fair system they can be part of, and that can benefit everyone in it. And, yet, we are sending them out into a world that is lacking in fairness and loaded with inequality. I grew up in Detroit and I have never seen such growing racial violence since I was very, very young.
There have been twenty-four deaths protested by the Black Lives Matter Movement since it's inception in July 2013. That's two years, twenty-four deaths. That does not count the nine deaths in recent the Charleston shooting on June 17, 2015.
It is still echoing in my ears and giving me chills.
What President Obama said at the memorial service for Reverend Pinckney...
"That my liberty depends on you being free, too. That history can’t be a sword to justify injustice, or a shield against progress, but must be a manual for how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past -- how to break the cycle. A roadway toward a better world. ... that the path of grace involves an open mind -- but, more importantly, an open heart. ... That, more than any particular policy or analysis, is what’s called upon right now, I think -- what a friend of mine, the writer Marilyn Robinson, calls 'that reservoir of goodness, beyond, and of another kind, that we are able to do each other in the ordinary cause of things.
That reservoir of goodness. If we can find that grace, anything is possible. If we can tap that grace, everything can change.
... Clementa Pinckney found that grace.
Cynthia Hurd found that grace.
Susie Jackson found that grace.
Ethel Lance found that grace.
DePayne Middleton-Doctor found that grace.
Tywanza Sanders found that grace.
Daniel L. Simmons, Sr. found that grace.
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton found that grace.
Myra Thompson found that grace.
Through the example of their lives, they’ve now passed it on to us. May we find ourselves worthy of that precious and extraordinary gift, as long as our lives endure."
May our young adults, and we ourselves, enjoy an open mind -- but, more importantly, an open heart. May we find that grace that can conform the culture of violence into a culture of peace.