Sarah Staudt: Healing after Westboro Baptist visit

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sarah Staudt’s reflection on the healing service we held after Westboro Baptist’s visit to campus today:

No one came.

We held a healing service, to heal the wounds caused by hateful words and songs and signs, to witness that a God of love was present in the world, to bring comfort and aid to those who needed to hear a message of love. And no one came.

I suppose that isn’t entirely accurate. There were 6 of us, the 6 people who essentially organized the service. Among us, only half of us had been present for the little gathering of those beloved children of God who desecrated our homes on campus today with painful words of hate. The rest of us had been in class, or asleep, or at home. And no one else came.

We sang chants, and we read from Galatians, about how there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. We prayed for our campus, for healing.

And then we talked. We talked about how we knew why no one came. Because in some ways, today had been a day of healing already. We talked about frat boys blasting music over the sounds of angry shouts. We talked about a campus, usually apathetic, unconvicted, coming together against a hatred that they knew, that we all knew, was so untrue as to be patently ridiculous.

And we talked about how that ridiculousness, how that stupid blind hate, can still sting, can still hurt, can still tear open old wounds for people, in a way that they don’t know how to express.

And we talked about it was ok that no one came. And about how luckily for us, no one needs to come to our healing service in a chapel in the middle of campus, with a tiny vial of oil, to be healed. How, luckily for us, we never need to ask God to show up – he’s always there already.

And we lifted up for healing all those who didn’t come, who didn’t know to come, or didn’t know how to come, who didn’t have the words to say what they felt, didn’t know how to ask for the healing they needed. And we knew that God heard us before we even spoke it, and was healing those who needed it before we ever blessed any oil. And that it was just fine that no one came, because God was already doing our work for us today.