Three days ago, I returned home after visiting Charlottesville, VA. I was sent there by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. My ‘assignment’ was to sit with five pastors, listen to their stories, and help them discern what might be next in their ministry. When 43 people showed up to talk, I knew it was time to through my expectations out the window.
Several of the pastors talked about being trained in non-violent resistance techniques in anticipation of encountering neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other white supremacists. What they all shared was that no one prepared them to confront evil face-to-face. Some of these good people were terrified by what they experienced. What we saw on television was only a small fraction of the insanity that terrorized Charlottesville. As I sat listening to the stories, I kept hearing, “Peace be with you!” in my heart.
I spent a lot of time on the street where Heather Heyer was killed, reading the messages written in chalk. The messages where of hope, defiance, resilience, love, support, and peace. One message simply read: “NO H8!”
I continue to pray for the good people of Charlottesville who tasted terror. “Peace be with you!”