Upon waking this morning, the first thing I read was the New York Times coverage of the horrific massacre of innocents in Charleston, South Carolina. Clearly, the murders were committed as an act of racial hatred, and it would be both ethically wrong and foolish to dismiss this critical aspect of the murders.
It is, however, also worth remembering that the murders were committed against Christians, members of a religion which transcends EVERY SINGLE aspect of race. The murders were—as with all massacres—committed against humanity as well.
What moved me about the NYT account was the bravery and fortitude with which the martyrs accepted their fate. What incredible stories. When I die, I hope I die with even a semblance of the dignity these women and men demonstrated.
We thank Thee for Thy mercies of blood, for Thy redemption by blood. For the blood of Thy martyrs and saints
Shall enrich the earth, shall create the holy places.
For wherever a saint has dwelt, wherever a martyr has given his blood for the blood of Christ,
There is holy ground.
–T.S. Eliot, MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL
Charleston martyrs, you will never be forgotten. Here or in eternity.