calendar April 30, 2021 in anti-racism

Racism Breaks God’s Heart

The Rev. Violet Cucciniello Little, pastor of The Welcome Church in Philadelphia, shares her thoughts with us.

Not long ago I posted a prayer on Facebook that was written by a group known as @Brickhouseinthecity. I was looking for something to give me the words for what I was feeling after seeing the news clip of an older Asian woman being pushed to the ground and left by a man in New York City. The man had intentionally pushed her and made some racist remarks. I was drawn to this prayer especially and was especially struck by its last line:

“Racism breaks your Heart.

Break my heart for what

Breaks yours,O Lord.”

         It seems for me that prayer has been answered too many times. I have felt my heart breaking over and over and most recently with the shooting death by a police officer of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Minneapolis. As a mother of two Black sons and a grandmother of two Black grandsons, it was not difficult for my heart to break as I listened to an interview with Daunte’s grieving mother; but for me, the question then became, what do I do with the pieces of my broken heart?

I remembered an old story about the building of a Palace in Tehran. I don’t recall all the details, but when the sheets of glass arrived for what was to be the walls of the Palace they had been shattered in transport. The workers were ready to return the crates of broken glass when a wise architect asked for them to be kept. The pieces were then used to form a beautiful mosaic that made the palace a unique place of beauty visited by many across the globe.

How do we take the pieces of our shattered and broken hearts and use that pain to create a place of beauty and justice for all? I pray for an answer to that question each day and look for ways to make that happen; but I also know that I have often missed the answers and opportunities that God places in my path.

In recent weeks I have heard a number of folks, including our President and Vice-President say that “sending thoughts and prayers” is not enough. While I absolutely believe in the power of prayer, I also believe what this Church has been saying for years—that it takes our hands—and our feet, and our hearts, to do God’s work. So maybe my prayer is not so much to have a heart that is broken but one that is broken open. A heart  that is broken open to the suffering of others but also to the possibilities that our God of all that is possible puts in our path.

The walls of that palace in Tehran did not come together by themselves. We need to be a community of architects and builders for justice. With God, I believe that can happen.

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