When hate takes flesh and walks among us it is the call to us all choose ye this day whom we will serve. Will it be the god nation, kith, and kin whose cry is always the same: We Want Our Country Back! Will it be the god of race and clan whose mantra is “they don’t belong here!” Will it be the god whose apostles trade in steady streams of anti-Black sacred rhetoric flooded across the airwaves of radio and cable?
Will it be the god who works out “his” providential will through the grinding policies of government which grind the poor into dust using a Black face as a target to motivate otherwise humane people to do great evil? And when the day of choice is at hand who will you stand with, the deacon of this god who says during his eucharistic performance which makes material his belief ““You rape our women and you’re taking over our country — and you have to go,” or will you stand with the God of Jesus Christ, who beyond being no respecter of persons is the defender of the weak, the marginalized, and they who are killed from sunup to sundown?To stand with the people of Mother Emmanuel AME Church in this moment of horror is to make a choice. For some it will mean repentance and real contrition for the peace they have made with the sea of anti-Black hatred in which we are awash as a Church and a society at this moment in history; for others it will mean reclaiming their call to be pilgrims in this world of hate being heralds of a new and different world that God has for us; and for some it will simply be the moment in which the work is too hard so they turn downcast and walk away. There is no quiet place. Today is a day of choice. Choose ye this day whom you will serve.
Rev. Dr. Stephen G. Ray, Jr., serves as the Neal F. and Ila A. Fisher professor of systematic theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He is also the author of Do No Harm: Social Sin and Christian Responsibility.