This week marks a turning point in American history – a time when long held traditions came tumbling down, resulting in the raising up of one flag, and the taking down of another. Flags are symbols in America. Symbols of our most deeply held personal beliefs. Symbols that say, “This is me. This is who I am. This is how I identify myself. Take notice!”
And take notice we did. When a lone racist gunman walked into an African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC and joined nine devout Christians in prayer and Bible study only to kill them in cold blood one hour later, a tipping point occurred in the minds of horrified Americans on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. To witness the murder of African Americans in Baltimore, Cleveland, and New York where there was even a shred of doubt regarding the innocence of the one killed unfortunately did not seem to result in change. We protested. We signed petitions; then life went on as usual.
But not this time. This time undeniable evil walked into the midst of goodness and love and killed it. So it seemed. But rather than killing that which was good, the goodness rose and forgave and moved forward, joining hands and singing ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘We Shall Overcome’. Goodness overcame evil as finally, symbolically, the Confederate flag came down in Alabama and is on its way down in South Carolina and hopefully other states.
Then almost simultaneously, another flag arose in America – the Rainbow flag. Symbol of gay pride. Symbol that says I am an American too. I can love and marry. I am equal. As the Supreme Court justices handed down their decision on this seminal case, they knew that 70% of American states had voted in favor of gay marriage. Another tipping point. A point at which the boulder moves over the top of the mountain at long last and justice prevails. A tipping point from which there is no turning back.
One flag down. One flag up. Justice wins out. Finally. There is nothing more Biblical than the concept of justice. In the book of Amos we are told, “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
This week justice and righteousness are rolling and flowing, in spite of it all, in spite of us all. This week our outward symbols are matching an inner integrity for which many have long searched and worked and prayed. This week of tipping points, of one flag down and one flag up will long be remembered. Thanks be to the God of justice.