I saw a group of people save the world a few weeks ago. It was sublte. It wasn’t like the Avengers with aliens invading and exploding arrows and pithy one liners from millionaires in flying iron.
It was physics managed.
I was taught in science class, nature abhors a vacuum. I always thought that it made me quite the naturalist since I always hated vacuuming. Really, that’s the only reason I have that one memorized. But I’ve been thinking about how that is what has been happening with our world for the last year.
Add to that fact, nature does not naturally order things and you have the recipe for Charleston saving the world.
In Ferguson, Missouri, loss so complete, so devastating and so horrible as the loss of a young life, a son and a future who or whatever was cut down by the bullets of a police officer. Loss is powerful. Violent loss is more powerful. No one knows how to react. It suspends your life in a vacuumed out moment where once stood the person you love.
Into that vacuum rushed hatred, bitterness, invectives of racism, riots, more violence and we watched in horror as people of the town of Ferguson (and not of the town of Ferguson) burned parts of the town to the ground. At the word of one of those who lost.
New York City.
Please, God, when I turn on the TV and there’s another young black man shot by a cop, please don’t let the cop be white.
Oh ya. I said that a few times.
It wasn’t me trying to acquit people of light skin. It was just me hoping that if a cop shot a black kid that he would at least have the media wait until all of the evidence was collected before denouncing his guilt or begrudgingly affirming the grave need to lethal answer to a lethal threat.
So when I read the news about Charleston, I braced…
The vacuum was bigger.
The hatred was real
And while blood still cooled, you could virtually hear Al and Jesse and Louis all packing their bags to make their way into the vacuum to once again stir up the people. To once again blind a whole group to what could be and instead make them follow a different direction.
Families of 9 people filled their vacuum with forgiveness so complete that there was so room for Al, Jesse or Louis. They denounced evil and all of its devices. They denounced hatred and racism. They bound its power and its shame and did not participate in it.
Instead they forgave. With their meager power to loose the justice over this young man’s evil to authority of land and sky, they let go of hatred.
Do you know how bad it could have gotten?
This is South Cackalacky, man. This is a place where lots of people are armed. This is a place where they won’t let you riot and burn a town down. This is a place where hatred rushing into fill a void can cause a large group of people to shoot at one another.
By all progress of the violence, hatred, bigotry and intolerance of the left toward the processes of justice and desire to convict a white cop of racism, Charleston should have ignited a race war.
But instead the flock of this slain pastor paid him a tribute sweeter than any eulogy. They showed exactly what they learned from their shepherd. He deserves the highest of praise as he enters into glory knowing that somehow he got a bunch of thick headed human beings to hear that the uttermost godly thing a man can do when his heart is destroyed and rendered vacuumous by violence is to love, sacrifice and forgive. I wish I was that effective. Even by half.
By much smaller measures we face little destruction, little violence, little vacuums every day. I have seen people suffer loss or worry or fear. It’s strangest when we see people react to other people’s problems. I hate watching someone make someone else’s tragedy all about themselves. It starts off sacrificial, as though if we personally carry the agony, the other won’t suffer. But really, in the end, it’s all about us drawing attention to suffering that isn’t even ours. That makes us no better than Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. And in those moments we hurt one another. We ignore each other. Legit hurt or worry then becomes a lack of understanding between us.
Which creates more vacuum.
And when vacuum happens between people, either they rush in to one another to collide, or space rushes in.
If they collide, they will conflict and then, if love be their guide, forgive and enjoy their sudden closeness.
If space rushes in, we see one another at further distance. We secretly blame each other for the space and worry and hurt about the distance.
We must forgive.
Even when we hurt.
Even when we don’t know what to do.
We must gird ourselves and insert love.
It’s how we save the world.