Posted September 30, 2015 by Marg Herder
To quote a tweet Sister Helen Prejean sent out at 12:30 this morning, “Kelly Gissendaner has been killed by the State of Georgia.” If you are not sure what I’m talking about, read this. It was reported that Kelly met her death singing “Amazing Grace.”
I, in the short-sighted way we human beings respond to news of this sort, am sad and angry and bitterly disappointed in the way so many of us behave on this planet.
I wrote this poem for the people who tried to save Kelly’s life.
Now we feel how powerless we are,
Sitting miles apart connected by copper veins, our still beating hearts screaming,
Sickened by this perversion of justice.
I felt it, the crushing news entering thousands of watching eyes.
I felt it as a ripple in the current of Her love.
I remember that she was accused of poison words and homicidal intent.
She didn’t even need action to bring about her warrant.
Words and intention were sufficient.
So why were our words and intentions so impotent?
Why did they crack and disintegrate as they met the air?
Why couldn’t they become the unbinding force that would have saved her life?
Those who distrust grace once again brought about a human being’s undoing,
As they have for millennia (just remember the lions and stones).
Now, as then, decisions were made, orders were given, and there was someone willing to comply.
The hands and feet of the adolescent monster we feed with our votes and our tax dollars
Delivered death into her body, forcing her out, and into God’s forgiving arms.
All the time, those hungry for punishment ridiculously believed they were doing her a disservice.
It should be clear that of everyone, she was hurt the least of all.
When justice was no match for the rule of law,
When mercy was no match for sacrifice,
When those who love were no match for those who lust for revenge,
She chose to die singing a song of grace.
At best, we can barely draw correct inferences concerning things we find on earth. Only after much thought and work do we come to understand what is right in front of us. Who among us then is able to examine heavenly things?
-Wisdom of Solomon 9:16 (CEB)