Bishop T.D. Jakes Virginia Tech Take–This Dallas Deacon is a Beacon
As I struggle to find the right words in post after post, I have been frustrated with writers and thinkers much more eloquent than me unable to say what is in alot of people’s hearts.
Until now. I read an article by Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potter House in Dallas Texas. This article was in today’s Washington Post, and the article was also on Realclearpolitics.
As a caucasian Jewish stockbrokerage professional raised in New York and living in Los Angeles, he and I could not be more different. He is a black, Dallas based Christian. Yet when someone says your words for you, you cannot help but feel compelled to thank them. I know nothing about Bishop Jakes, but based on this one reading, this Deacon is a Beacon.
In addition to the Virginia Tech tragedy, I pray for my father, who has an angiogram tomorrow. I remember a folk song my father used to play in the house when I was growing up.
“You can be a beacon if you’ll let it (your light) shine…because there’s a little light in all of us by God’s design.”
It is easy to understand why people lose faith, but it is also to understand why some turn to faith even more. My father lived through the Holocaust, yet believes in a higher power. As I think of my dad, and think of that song, I reread Bishop Jakes’ messages in his article.
1) “It is not so much that we have answers, as we have compassion.” I am glad I read this because I may never have answers. I know that I care about these people I have never met, and that is all I know. I hope they feel the outpouring of caring from strangers worldwide. It will not bring back their loved ones, but it can only help. Tell as many people as possible you care early and often. If you have told them already, tell them again.
2) One lesson to take from tragedies is that “all is not lost. However, if we awake tomorrow to business as usual, we are destined to repeat the same mistakes without remedy.” We have to do better. All of us. That does not mean feel guilt, blame or shame. It does mean striving to make the time on this Earth matter. We are not here to take up space. We are here to make a better world. Slipping through the cracks is not an option. We are all potential beacons of light. We all have value. We all matter. God says this.
3) “Many of us are suffering from little to no tolerance for people who think, believe, look, dress or act differently than ourselves. We will never agree on all issues; but we can learn to be civil and respectful.” Amen, Bishop Jakes! 9/11, Katrina and Virginia Tech did not know black from white, red republican from blue democrat, liberal from conservative, or short from tall. We have every right to fiercely debate those we disagree with. We should not hate them. The dinner table at many Synagogues I have been to have had spirited verbal jousting sessions, followed by the breaking of bread, the drinking of beverages, and hugs and hearty handshakes afterwards. We also learn and grow more from people we disagree with in ways that our like minded allies cannot aid us in doing.
4) “I hope we find some shred of wisdom in the remains of this. I hope that we do something to dispel this trend we see mounting all around us. I hope that this crisis teaches us to love more deeply, to extend a greater sense of respect and compassion for one another. I understand that it is the loss of life that also teaches us the value of life. It is its brevity of moments that encourages us not to waste days with anger and unforgiveness. May all of us who dare to have a belief system that is founded in God use that faith to find solace in God’s love and presence, beauty in the gift he gives us each moment, and savoring every drop of life we have.”
May we all spread God’s light with the beauty that Bishop Jakes spreads words. May those words be matched by equally beautiful deeds by all of us. We saw the worst of life yesterday. To try and make things better, which I truly believe in my heart we can, slowly but steadily, we will have to give it our best.
May God bless the families of the victims of the Virginia Tech Massacre. May God also bless my father, and may he live for a long time to come.
Thank you Bishop Jakes. You said it perfectly. I will simply say to your words “amen.”