In Response to Hate Attack at Grocery Store
How does one man, who has been the subject of a seething racial attack and who was threatened with death, not only NOT blame that person, but go beyond and say, “All things are yours,” meaning that we all must take responsibility for hate that exists?
Palisades Lutheran Church Pastor Kenneth Davis and his 16-year-old daughter Cassadi were subjected to a white woman shouting at them in the local Ralphs parking lot. She said to Davis that she didn’t like “fu**ing nig**rs. I hate you. I’m going to get my gun and come back and kill you nig**rs.”
“We have been a witness to the horror in San Diego, laying to rest the righteous Lori Kaye (z’l), just after bombings in the Churches of Sri Lanka and the Mosque of Christchurch. It seems nowhere and no one is safe from harm and attack. Meanwhile, in our little village, here in the Palisades, we can feel insulated from the seething anger and hatred of our society.
After Pastor Davis and Cassadi posted a detailed account on Nextdoor Palisades about their encounter with the woman (who drove off wildly in a white Passat), Kehillat Israel rabbi emeritus Steven Carr Reuben sent a letter to the temple’s congregation stating that Davis was preparing a special sermon for May 5 and all were invited.
“In this time of fear mongering and intolerance, showing up for each other is one significant action we can take,” the letter concluded.
Lifelong Palisadian Cathy Salser, founder of A Window Between Worlds, also played a key role by encouraging the public (via Nextdoor) to show up for Sunday’s 11 a.m. service.
Impressively, more than 340 community members packed the Lutheran Church (with standing-room-only in the upstairs balcony) in a show of support for Davis and his daughter.
The pastor based his message on 1 Corninthians 3:21-23: “So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the futures—all are yours.”
Davis explained that we each need to evaluate our own lives and not let it be shallow when it could be significant, feeble when it could be full, paltry when it could be powerful or hellish when it could be holy.
That God has given each of us gifts that shape and allow us to make contributions to humanity—and because of that we need to claim everything and include everyone.
Hence the words “All Things Are Yours,” which means we all need to take the responsibility for life, faith, institutions, community and race.
Davis quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“I am the owner of the sphere
Of the seven stars and solar years
Of Cesar’s hands, and Plato’s strain
Of Lord Christ’s heart, and Shakespeare’s strain,”
“Because, all things are yours,” Davis said, and he explained that people in the Palisades might say, “Duh, but of course,” that we have big houses, bank accounts, good schools—we have it all. But people in Watts, East Oakland and Detroit might not feel like “All things are yours.” The people Paul was preaching to were poor, they were ordinary, but still he told them “all things were theirs” by possession, not ownership.
Davis explained that we need to be clear about the difference. We might possess peace of mind, but we can’t own it. We can’t own intelligence, happiness and the respect of others, but we can possess these qualities.
Some people think that they have sole ownership over God by their faith, but Davis said simply, “All things are yours in the freedom of God to possess, enjoy and improve, but never to own.”
And with this we must never be narrow, judgmental, prejudiced or bigoted. Even as the church back in Paul’s time was divided into factions, Paul urged people today to reach out and take the good from all groups, not to limit what others might have to offer.
“Don’t use faith, gender, race to limit yourselves,” he said. “The love of God is not a putdown, but a blessed assurance.”
Davis listed all the religions and their leaders, different political/government leaders and their philosophies and said “I claim all of them! I want it all!”
Then the Pastor, who had been subjected to a woman’s bigotry, told all of the people who had filled the church to go out and “Build a world with no hate–one person at a time.”
He said that if “there is hate and resentment, shake it off, if there is evil, destroy it” and if someone hates you “keep loving.”
Pastor Davis’ remarkable sermon may be seen in its entirety by visiting: plc.cc.
(Editor’s note: The woman who threatened the Pastor and his daughter drove away in a white Volkswagen Passat. If you see that make of vehicle, take down the license plate and pass it onto Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Circling the News was told that LAPD Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff, a Palisadian, is aware of the attack.)