Sunday Afternoon in Good Company

A handful of Left Handers attended the event held at the Islamic Center of Boulder this past Sunday honoring the lives of those lost in the horrific attacks at two mosques in New Zealand. The kids and I parked down the street at another church because ICB’s parking lot was overflowing. As we fell in step with the crowds flooding the building, I told my children, “If you ever think hate is winning, just remember this moment. Look at all of these people supporting the Muslims in our community, because of the hatred and actions of one man.”

We approached the front doors, hundreds of shoes piled the entryway. People were everywhere. We made our way to the far wall where the kids could stretch and quietly play. My estimator is a little bit broken, but I would say 500 people were in attendance. 

The two-plus-hour gathering began with a call to peace from Imam Shoaib Alzenati, followed by words from our elected officials, including Jonathan Singer – Colorado State House Representative for District 11, Michael Dougherty – District Attorney for Boulder County, Jena Griswold – Secretary of State for Colorado, and U.S. Representative Joe Neguse. All spoke with authority and generosity to the Islamic community, expressing condolences and promises to do better. They also tasked the rest of us with doing the essential work of love in the world. 

A number of people who attend ICB also shared their stories, including one whose uncle was among those killed in New Zealand. His emotional, heartbroken plea was matched by my own growing comprehension of the fear Muslims around the world now know as white supremacist and white nationalist rhetoric is on the rise.

As a Left Hander, I was grateful to be present. I was glad to represent our loving community. And I cannot tell you how good it feels to have an expansive faith and theology that can truly seek to stand with another in their time of great suffering. I have no need to change anyone, just myself, as I develop a heart to match that of the remarkable love of Christ. 

My work as a neighbor, as a pastor, as a parent, as a citizen is to keep standing firm for love. And when I do this I show up with kids in tow, headscarf donned, mourning, lamenting, laughing, remembering that love always wins.