I can’t remember a truly grace-filled Superbowl ad. Oh they work, some very well, all aiming to lay some massage on the human heart. And finding that heart more elusive than Foghorn Leghorn on the heels of an ever polite Australian Gecko.
The global heart is lithe and fast. Nearly impossible to track down and capture. But we saw it. In Charleston, grace ran fast and strong. Quick onto its feet, without stumble. Grace ran down the global heart, and ran its strong gentle hands up the spine of the human race. Took hold of the world where it lives.
I pray this Grace will never fully let go.
As I stood in the lobby of the court facility, hearing forgiveness take the place of rancor in the hearts of heartbroken family, I watched the accused shooter in the Emanuel AME Church massacre forced to stand before this Grace. He could not escape it. We know the heinous deed. And now we, and perhaps he, know the heart of forgiving. People of faith and people utterly without it know this Grace by the elan of its way. The lovely way it carries itself. Grace, lovely and handsome and always appropriate to the occasion, walked in and changed the world.
No, it didn’t stop wars or cure the fallen ways of humanity. Grace, instead, took the warring heart and the broken vessel of revenge in a life grip. An embrace of Love, not a Half Nelson of get even. Grace won one of the worst days in American life in a long time. It was a miracle that arrived, right on time.
It remains so.
I don’t know why it took a massacre. This is a writing of my faith, not my certainty. Faith in God, of any kind, is belief in the unseen. A gentle hug of the mysterious. A kiss of the mortal mouth against the sacred dark of the heavens, trusting there is light on the other side.
And we have seen this light. In the darkness of a deed carried out for the most nefarious of reasons in Mother Emanuel AME, forgiveness has lit the way for us all. Standing in front of that sacred sanctuary, field anchoring the story as a journalist for television, what I noticed was the silence. A hallowed quiet. The beautifully multi-cultural, multi-shaded congregation of humanity holding its tongue, praying in the heart, holding the hand of a stranger of another race, changed. Changed by mystery. Grace is the faith word for it. Forgiveness, the terribly inadequate label for the miracle of the heart that is letting go of malice, hatred, meanness, eye-for-an-eye. No single word will quite do.
Mother Emanuel AME is more sacred than ever now. A reminder emotions are the fruits of little human hearts, but Love is far bigger. Love is no emotion, after all. It is the womb of the grace we’ve witnessed in our time in Charleston, South Carolina.
A Grace that soon got on its running shoes and captured the world. No gecko could outrun it.
May this Grace wrestle us onto sacred ground until we lose. Hold our hearts, and the rest of us, down for a good long time. May we not desire to say … uncle.