This past week our nation rallied to honor the nine martyrs of Emmanuel AME Church, Charleston, SC, and renew our efforts to heal the wounds of racism. I was particularly struck when I heard a relative of one of the martyrs face Dylan Roof and tell him that while she was angry and hurt, her grandmother had taught her that their family was built by love. There was no room in her life for hate. And so she forgave him. Which was a worthy witness to the Christian identity that makes us brothers and sisters in the household of God.
Healing the wounds of racism will require much more than symbolic actions like removing the battle flag of the Confederate States of America from license plates and merchandise sold at Wal-Mart. It will require us to build face-to-face relationships of mutual respect, practice disciplines of humility, repentance and forgiveness, live as brothers and sisters, children of the one God and Father of all, whose family is built by love.
This Sunday we will wash and anoint Grace Emery in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Baptism is much more than a symbolic act. Through Baptism God assures us each a place in the family built on the cornerstone of Christ’s grace and love. The joy of taking our place in the household of God comes through living with God: learning the great story of God’s household and making it our own story; feasting at the table of God, with the people of God; bearing witness to Christ our King through our prayers and actions; growing into the full stature of Christ in whom there is no room for hate.