Like many, I am a little bit lost.  So much has come to the front of our minds this week.  Things that should have been there long ago.  As a white person, I admit my failure.

It is difficult to know what to do.  Those who wish to be allies in the fight against racism, in all its forms, are looking for direction.  Do we march?  Do we donate?  Do we pray?  Do we read?  Do we preach?  Do we protect?  Do we shelter? Maybe any of these, maybe all.  But I suspect what we really need to do is listen.  We really need to hear.  And we really need to accept our complicity.

I have made mistakes.  I have said things in the wrong way.  I have misunderstood.  I am anxious about what is the right thing to do, what is the wrong thing to do.  But I am willing to offer my hand anyway.  As an ally, as a friend, as a stranger.  I don’t know what this will mean.  But I am willing to find out.  I am willing to be told I haven’t quite got it yet, and am willing to try again.  I offer my hand.

This hymn was written by Thomas A. Dorsey in 1932.  Dorsey is one of the great African American hymn writers and choral conductors, often referred to as the father of gospel music, and wrote more than four hundred songs. This one was written upon learning of the death of his wife in childbirth, and the subsequent death of their infant son.  It is a powerful statement about the deep need a human being has to find comfort in the hands of something beyond their suffering, beyond their pain.

Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light:

Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

When my way grows drear,
Precious Lord, linger near,
When my life is almost gone,
Hear my cry, hear my call,
Hold my hand lest I fall:

Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

When the darkness appears
And the night draws near,
And the day is past and gone,
At the river, I stand,
Guide my feet, hold my hand:

Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

What can I do but offer a hand to hold in this time of intense questioning and suffering?  A hand that allows the pain and anguish to rage, withstanding the force of something deeper than I can possibly know.  A hand that is willing to seek an understanding of the cause of the pain, willing to accept responsibility for my role in it, and be open to learning more about what allows it to carry on; what will see its end.

It is time to offer the hand that is needed.  Not the one that makes me feel better.  The one that is needed.

I see people who are tired.  They are worn.  They should not have to fall or fear the night or live in a never ending storm.  They have cried for long enough.