Bible Study, Brotherhood

On the 1st anniversary of the Charleston, SC church shooting Steve is reprising his poem of last year because we have not yet learned the lesson that ‘people with guns kill people.’

To Bible study, brotherhood, the new one brought a gun.
To Bible study? No one would–but that night, there was one.
It was a young, white, angry man who came to church that night.
And who could know he had a plan? (Though angry young men might.)

The Bible verses read that night, a lesson clear, profound,
Teach all of us, when sowing seeds on rocky, thorny ground,
Roots will not form; plants cannot grow; unnourished, they will die.
A simple truth, as we all know: It matters where seeds lie.

To grow and flower, wisdom’s seeds
Must find a mind prepared that heeds
And is disposed to do good deeds,
Not one dried out by hate.

They read and talked of brotherhood not limited by clan.
And who of them would think that could enrage this sullen man?
The Stars and Bars, white racist rant, from those so filled with hate,
Create a mind that simply can’t see races integrate.

The welcome at Emanuel, the peaceful, open hand,
The Word of God could not dispel the evil he had planned.
They read and talked and read and prayed. Time flew and they were done.
They had no cause to be afraid–and then he drew his gun.

He fired and fired; nine lives would end.
And no one there could comprehend;
And none could rise up to defend.
Who brings a gun to church?

He told one there she would survive to witness what he’d done.
That horror’s past. For those alive, the healing work’s begun.
We’ve taken down the Stars and Bars, arrested the young man.
Will “thoughts and prayers” heal all our scars? Dear brothers, what’s our plan?

Stephen Baird, November, 2015-June, 2016