I’ve looked for a way to describe the confusion and turmoil that surrounded the month of June in 2015, but I found my vocabulary limited when it comes to what occurred last month.
There’s clearly no need to list the events, but to say they caused a seismic shift in our country would not be wrong. Add to them a prison escape straight from the movies, along with a nearly month-long manhunt, and June was eventful to say the least.
While the same-sex marriage ruling, and health care opinion also provided high drama, for me-the events in Charleston, South Carolina were the real moments to remember and never forget. Not just the senseless killing of nine people in a church, but the reaction to the tragedy.
From the moments immediately following the act, through the final burial just yesterday, the families and community of Charleston showed moderation, love for their fellow man, and most of all Grace. President Obama first brought up the concept of Grace in his eulogy last week, in what is sure to be one of the most remembered moments of his presidency. The President clearly felt the need to almost preach the idea of Grace, and got the point across very well.
But Grace has many definitions. There is the one put forth by Obama that all people are granted the Grace of God. Not because we earned it, but because God grants it to us. It is understood to be granted as generous, free, totally unexpected and undeserved. It takes the form of divine favor, love, clemency, and a share in the divine life of God, and we certainly need as much of that as we can get.
But Grace is also defined as a charming or attractive trait or characteristic, and a disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency. We saw all of those in South Carolina in the past several weeks as displayed by the families and friends of the victims. From the day the alleged killer made a court appearance and was extraordinarily forgiven by some family members, to the peaceful gatherings of prayer and remembrance.
The side effects of this tragedy are many. The controversy over Confederate Battle Flags, how the alleged shooter was turned to racism, how he got hold of a gun. But in reflection, those are all just noise. Not to say we should ignore those things, but we’re missing the real story here people.
For a brief sliver of time, following an unspeakable tragedy, we saw what we all seem to crave, but don’t even realize. We saw true Grace by nearly every definition of the word. It made me think, and it made me ponder. It didn’t hurt anyone at all, and most importantly, it set an example of love for your fellow man that everyone should welcome and embrace.
I can’t say it any better.