When I traveled to the Holy Land last year, I saw so many beautiful churches. The Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha was my favorite. As if this week wasn’t marked enough by hate already, apparently there was an arson attack on the church yesterday. The perpetrator left a message in red spray paint along the white limestone walls, denouncing the worship of false gods. The Internal Security Minister of Israel denounced the attack, as did the Rabbis for Human Rights group.
A mountain of words could be said about the place where Jesus practiced and preached abundance being the target of hatred and violence. I don’t think I can find them today, because my soul’s tired, and my brain is somehow both numb and buzzing with noise.
What I know is that two houses of worship were desecrated this week, both of them due to hatred. Both of them complicated, with complicated histories and which, if we actually decided to confront them, would have complicated solutions. I feel less hope about racism than I do about the progress we’ve made in interfaith dialogue, but let’s just all be honest with ourselves this week. We still have a long way to go.
I don’t know what will help, other than lament. Full, true, impassioned lament, that can speak honestly about where we are right now in the state of the world. Where we are is polarization. Where we are is hatred. Where we are is embedded in the kind of intolerance for others that is itself a violence.
We are in trouble, with all this hate. We are in actual danger. Racism is killing us, fundamentalist religious thought is killing us, hatred of anyone who is different from us is killing us.
We are sick, and we are dying, because that’s what hate does to the world’s ecosystem.
I’m trying to trust in the Spirit of God who hovered over the formless void and spoke life and breath into it, into us. That Spirit of Life is still here, still with us. And she is still more powerful than all of the other forces we serve. Wherever you are today, whatever you’re doing, I hope we all find a way to listen for her, to tap into her life-giving and life-saving energy. It is honestly the only thing I know that can save us. Small acts of love, tiny acts of courage, whispered thoughts of hope. The Spirit of God lives within us all. I think it’s time we start listening to her. She understands our lament, and when we lose our hope, she holds it for us, and groans on our behalf when we can’t find the words.