Fifty years ago today, our God,
four children were killed in a church bombing
at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
in Birmingham, Alabama.
Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson,
Cynthia Wesley, and Denise McNair.
It was Youth Sunday.
They were killed, in part,
because too many church folk
could not hear
what Jesus said and taught so very clearly
about loving neighbors and looking out for each other,
about blessing all creation
because of the bountiful blessings received—
because too many christians
took one verse or two (or three or four)
and understood something absolutely antithetical
to who You are, our God.
So we grieve today
the sins of the certain,
and the too often vicious and violent
waywardness of those supposedly on Your way.
We grieve the too many
who have given up on You
because of Your followers—
because of our attitudes and our actions.
May we also wonder about our certainties
and weigh them ever against love
and compassion and blessing—
weigh always what we think we know
against what we know of You,
in our commitment to do justice,
to love kindness, and to walk,
In the name of Jesus we pray,