Written by Daniel Hazard
"You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies." - Psalm 23.
Yesterday I picked-up the father of a convicted hate crime killer and we drove to the screening of a movie, Deputized, which will soon be released as the second PBS documentary about the death of an undocumented Latino man, Marcelo Lucero, at the hands of seven teenagers, none of whom were older than seventeen at the time of the crime. His son could not attend the screening with us because he is serving a 25-year sentence in a maximum security prison. Four years ago, I presided over the funeral of the victim and began many, many efforts at healing many, many wounds. And now I am driving around with the father of the victimizer who many in the press and public demonized as "the man who turned his son into the animal that he is."
As a sermonizer, I was trained never to be the hero of my own story, which might have been a possibility if I hadn't made so many enemies. I made enemies when I "sided with the Latinos" by, among other things, raising thousands of dollars for the family of the undocumented victim "who shouldn't have been here in the first place" to help return his body to Ecuador. I made even more enemies when I "sided with the killer" by raising money for his prison commissary account because he wanted to buy some warm socks and a can of Vienna sausages on Christmas Eve.
I have looked very hard and still cannot find any "sides" at the round table of justice at which ALL must have a seat if healing and, hopefully, transformation are to take place.
Welcoming God, our most gracious host, thank you for inviting me to the table and seating me next to justice, corruption, mercy, contempt, compassion, and all your other interesting guests with whom I break bread and share stories. As you are still speaking, may we remain still listening to you and to each other. Amen.
Dwight Lee Wolter is the author of Forgiving Our Parents, Freedom Through Forgiving (a workbook), and Forgiving Our Grownup Children. He is pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York.