Many words will be written about the events of this week. It has been a week of emotions, a week of change, a week that will make historians take notice.
As we watched Confederate flags being removed from prominent places and heard eminent people speaking carefully, eloquently about history and tradition being mingled with deep seated hatred and pain, we have learned a new way to hear one another. As we watched the Supreme Court Justices vote favorably on the Affordable Care Act, we learned a new way of hope, knowing that many who have been denied health care will receive it, many who have just found it, will not lose it. As we listened to those same Justices debate over marriage equality and finally, once and for all, determine that marriage is a constitutional right guaranteed to all, we have learned a new way of hope and that love does win. As we heard the grieving family members of nine people whose lives were torn down by hatred and racism offer forgiveness to the murderer, we learned a new way of forgiveness and compassion. As we watched the President of the United States of America giving a eulogy for a pastor, as we listened to him lead a congregation, indeed a nation, in the singing of a beloved hymn, we learned a new way of grace.
It has been quite a week. There have been tears in the pews and cheers in the streets, lumps in our throats and joy in our hearts.
Life is like that. It can sweep us from despair to joy, sometimes in a matter of minutes. Just this morning I sat beside a friend who has been carried on the waves and brought crashing down, once again, caught up in the maelstrom of paperwork and bureaucracy. Overwhelmed by the demands being made of him, the seeming distrust being aimed at him, the threats being given to his financial and, therefore, emotional well-being, he is shaken to the core, his pain a palpable reminder that we are not done.
Flags have come down. Decisions have been made. Changes sweep the land. But we are not done. There are people around us who are still at risk. People who will still be buffeted by hatred or bureaucracy. People who will be deprived of essentials, such as housing, food, education. People who will feel outcast, defeated, frightened, alone.
We are not done. Flags have come down. Decisions have been made. Changes sweeps the land. But this is only the beginning. A beautiful, heart filling, inspiring beginning that may be just the impetus we need to do all that we must do.
For now, our to do lists keep growing. They will grow until justice reigns throughout the land and all God’s people are whole.