“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” Acts 2:1
I’m headed to Catawba Valley tomorrow. What shall I see when we are all together in one place? Will there be throngs filled with the Holy Spirit speaking the many languages of love? Will onlookers be bewildered as voices rise, each in the native tongues of the secular and sacred worlds from which we come? Will perplexed spectators sneer? Will the world hear as sons and daughters prophesy of love? Will the hard hearted be opened anew as young men stand as visions of compassion? Will rejected and anguished souls flutter with hope as old men share dreams of a nation’s promise of liberty and justice for all? Surely, whatever passes, the Lord’s Spirit will pour out and it will be a great and glorious day.
Update: 11:23 am. Love not Hate – I got here around 9:15, signed up
to be a volunteer peacekeeper and received a brief introduction to our role…encourage Love demonstrators to abstain from engaging Hate counter demonstrators and if necessary place my body between aggressor and protestor to take the abuse, verbal or physical, on their behalf. Praise the Lord that has not yet come to pass.
So far the love crowd outnumbers the hate crowd exponentially!
Photos and videos coming later.
Update: 12:40 pm – I’m not so great with numbers, just ask my wife, but my official estimate of # of people here for love – a multitude!
Update: 1:40 pm - The haters have taken up a post on the sidewalk in the middle of the line of lovers with atrocious signs like “aids is not a disease, it’s a cure” and “ask me why you’re going to hell”. The crowd is chanting “Love Not Hate” while Peace Keepers stand between and monitor the pulse of the crowd.
Update: The Day After - Just before 2 pm, as the hot Catawba sun shone down on the grassy field, organizers of the Love Not Hate demonstration began to thank supporters and disband the protest. The haters continued to holler, and a few protest supporters lingered but the happy swarm of loving people began to make their ways back to cars, motorcycles and buses. The locals watching from a nearby hill returned to their businesses as protesters hugged and smiled. As I made my way across the parking lot I saw tags from Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina and Tennessee. Media accounts have the numbers at over 1500 loving folk and just about 50 or so hateful, negative souls. I met so many beautiful people – gay and not-gay, young and not-so-young, black and white, religious and secular – all with one message: love not hate.
It was a great and glorious day to be together standing on the side of love. It was surely the most blessed day of Pentecost in my life and I am forever changed by what I saw, who I met and what I felt as the spirit of love and justice rolled in the state of North Carolina.
Thank you Laura Tipton and all organizers of this event. It was truly well organized and carefully, thoughtfully managed. I am honored to have been there and serve as a peace keeper for the day.
More than any words I can say right now – these images tell the story.