If truth be told, I spent a lot of time in between tasks today trying to sort out how I am feeling about the current state of the world. It is not something I am particularly good at, getting in touch with my emotions or being able to articulate how I really feel.
My thoughts and reflections came from the outlook of an adult never really thinking about how I would feel if I were a child hearing bits of pieces of the news or some snippets of adult conversation. And then I received a text from a dear friend who lives with his wife and children right at ground zero in Manhattan.
This was a young man I met when he was a boy at my internship congregation. His mother and I remain best friends and I was the preacher at his wedding. Pete married a woman whose family is from the Philippines. They have two beautiful girls. Both girls have large brown eyes and curly brown hair. They are absolutely gorgeous. They are also extremely intelligent and always asking questions. I wish I could bottle their energy and save it for one of my less energetic days!
Pete shared how difficult it is to explain to a 7 and 5 year old what is happening. He said that one of the girls asked him if we are back in the time before Martin Luther King where white and brown/black people didn’t like each other. And then she asked: “Daddy, I have brown skin, am I supposed to fight with you?” Imagine such a question from your own child. It reminds me again that racism and prejudice are learned and observed behaviors. No one is born hating someone of a different race. I wanted to weep as I thought about how many other children are asking these same questions trying to make sense of what is happening around them. Of course the answer starts with each one of us. Speak up when you hear any words or see acts of racism and admit that it is a systemic sin in our culture.
Let us pray:
God of Heaven and Earth,
you created the one human family
and endowed each person with great dignity.
Aid us, we pray, in overcoming the sin of racism.
Grant us your grace in eliminating this blight
from our hearts, our communities,
our social and civil institutions.
Fill our hearts with love for you and our neighbor
so that we may work with you
in healing our land from racial injustice.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. [from website of USCCB]
The Rev. Ellen Meissgeier