Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. Genesis 50:20
Words don’t do justice to what hundreds of us experienced last night in a Baptist Church sanctuary in Charlotte. Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian leaders led a packed crowd of human beings who gathered to sing, pray, and remember the eleven Tree of Life congregants who died during Shabbat services last weekend.
How does one measure profound beauty displayed in perfect anthems and clearly declared proclamations of solidarity. There were women in hijabs and rabbis wrapped in prayer shawls, monks in orange robes and cantors draped in white, Christians wearing collars and crosses. There was laughter and tears and applause. At least for one hour, we worshiped side by side and prayed for peace.
But just as offering “thoughts and prayers” can be empty gestures, gathering for worship together makes a minimal impact if we stop there. Standing with those in pain involves taking action. Voting is just the beginning.
What definitive step will each of us take to use this tragedy for good? What’s really scary is letting our sorrows be wasted.
Image from the Interfaith Vigil held at First Baptist-West Church in Charlotte, NC on 10-30-18.