I lived in Columbia, South Carolina for 7 years. For most of that time, I lived on North Main Street, a couple of miles due north of the state capitol building. Like most people in Columbia, I would guess, I was keenly aware of the Confederate battle flag that flew over the capitol dome. One morning, as I was in the car, leaving Columbia to go out of town, I heard on the radio that a member of a work crew restoring the dome had removed the flag from its flag pole. This was so unbelievable to me that I turned my car around and hurried down Main Street just so I could witness this historic event. Indeed, the flag was gone but within a matter of hours, the worker who had removed it was fired and the flag was restored to its place above the capitol, where a great many South Carolinians still believe it belongs [the flag was later permanently removed from the capitol and placed on a flag pole directly in front of the building].
For many years, the Confederate flag has been a powerful symbol to many people in this country. Some see it as a reminder of a memorable chapter in our nation's history and claim not to view it as a symbol of slavery or racism. And that would be that, except for the other people. The ones whose great-great grandparents were slaves. The ones who have had racial epithets yelled at them by people waving the flag or bearing it on their vehicles. The ones who feel the flag is used as a means of separation of one race from another. The ones who fear the flag is used to incite hate and fear. In South Carolina and other southern states, movements are underway to remove the Confederate flag from display on public grounds or even from its place on a state flag. It's about time. Though the flag is only a symbol of the prevailing problem of racism in our country, removing it is a start to a painful but necessary conversation that must take place, in our country, our state, our county, our churches and our living rooms as we all ask ourselves: What in our actions and our words acts as a symbol of separation and how can we better listen to our neighbors who suffer the deep pain of racism every day? How can we as the body of Christ share God's love with all of God's beloved children, not regardless of race, but because of the richly diverse way in which we are all so beautifully created?
"Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world."
Thank you to everyone who worked to make last Saturday's Barrowburn concert at Oak Grove a success. It was a wonderful evening: as the sun began to set, a soft rain fell and the beautiful sound of Celtic song filled the air. Magical. Our third concert of the season is set for this coming Saturday, June 27, when Seph and TK take the Pavilion stage. Seph and TK are a high energy acoustic music duo, utilizing simple components. Straight from Boones Mill, the duo features Seph Custer on guitar and vocals and Chris TK Wimmer on Djembe/rhythm. I have seen them and urge you to come out on Saturday. You'll hear songs you know interpreted in a whole new way and you won't be able to keep your feet from tapping!
Please keep Billy in your prayers. He is dealing with an infection in his foot, likely from an insect bite. He's been poked and prodded by several doctors and it looks like he's now on the right course of treatment, though it will take some time to heal.
Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. - Mother Teresa
Yours in Christ,