28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also;
Two weekends ago, we witnessed deeply disturbing acts of violence and hatred in our neighboring community of Anaheim. The acts took place in Pearson Park where a small group of the Ku Klux Klan had planned a public rally; and several dozen protestors showed up to confront the Klan at their rally. By all accounts, violence broke out quickly and within minutes, 3 people had been stabbed and 13 arrested.
Accusations continue to be thrown around: Who did what? What was perpetrated in self-defense? Who attacked whom? What is known is that God’s people were physically injured; lives were forever changed; hatred, fear and pain were spread. And yet, as angry as I am, as despicable as the KKK is to me, violence is not our way.
We know this. Jesus taught us this, again and again and again.
Violence is not our way. Hatred, vitriol are not our way.
Our way is the way of the Prince of Peace. Our way is turning the cheek. Our way is forgiving not seven times, but seventy times seven. I know that this understanding did not make Jesus popular (nor me). It is indescribably difficult to forge a path of peace in the midst of (centuries long … even millennia? long) deep hatred, fear, and pain.
So, when the call went out for an interfaith, community wide peace rally as a response to the violence in Anaheim, my heart placed me there. And my feet followed. On Monday, February 29, your Pastor of Youth & Family Ministries, side by side with her clergy husband, pushing the double BOB stroller with two young ones along … were there. In the evening dark, I was there pounding the pavement of Anaheim, amidst other peacemongers as well as white supremacists, together with Jews, Muslims, Catholics, agnostics, and atheists alike … the people of God were saying as loudly, as lovingly, as openly as we could …
Violence is not our way.
My prayer remains: may it be so. May it be so.
Your sister in Christ,