Dear members and friends of this community that yearns to earn the name “Beloved,”
“Rev” here. I am sitting in my study watching the shadows grow as we approach the Jewish sabbath. Rabbi Elizabeth Richman reminds us that the Hebrew bible reading tonight would begin with a psalm of praise, “O Come, Let us sing to the Lord/Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”
In the light of the horrific attack on Christian people in their house of worship studying the bible in Charleston, SC two nights ago, I wonder how it is possible to make a joyful noise. How is it ever possible to point at some divinity as “the Rock.”
Instead, I think we need to reveal “the Rock,” and unleash the solidarity that is in our hearts, the promise to stand with others in prayer, yes, and in doing the work of justice that we might remove the power of racism and the brokenness it creates in our hearts and in our culture. I think we show our desire for justice by working to control the guns that are in our society. I think we affirm our respect for the interdependence of all existence by stopping to examine our own heart-minds, by recommitting to a more compassionate way of being in the world, and even by seeking the Spirit that our AME sisters and brothers sought in their study and devotion.
My heart is broken, dear friends. I think of our UU co-religionists in Charleston, and I wonder how they are. Beyond my meager expressions of love for them in e-mail and texts, what still can we do?
Personally, I will take some time in contemplation and deep breathing. I will sit in the back yard tonight in the darkness, awaiting the coming of Midsommar (Mid-Summer). I’ll look for the green man in the garden (and may even wear a few ferns myself). And I’ll light nine candles, nine silent and burning witnesses to the lives snuffed out. I’ll wonder in amazement at the spirituality of the family member who said “I forgive you” to the man who shot down a relative. I’ll consider the strength of my own faith, and prepare just a few more words for Sunday’s homily about a fallen freedom fighter, the late Leslie Feinberg, transgender leader. And I’ll think of the Love that sustains us, that is my Rock, that you have shown me in our life together.
With deep gratitude,
David Carl Olson
The Kids Call Me ‘Rev'”