Today is the 50th anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The church was bombed simply because the people who attended happened to have black skin. Four little girls, ages 11 to 14, were killed, and another girl severely injured.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NASB)
The murder of four young girls getting ready to participate in Youth Sunday at church galvanized the attention of the world and helped to ignite the civil rights movement. People who had ignored the movement rallied behind the cause when they were confronted with the murder of four innocent young Christian girls getting ready for Sunday School.
Beauty from the Ashes of the 16th Street Baptist Church describes how Junie Collins Williams, the sister of one of the girls killed in the bombing and another girl who was severely injured, has found peace through forgiveness. The article says this:
Freedom is seen in the face of a black woman who refused to succumb to bitterness despite enduring unspeakable loss and brutality. Instead, she trusted Jesus to heal her, enable her to forgive, and give her the courage to share her testimony with the world. She is an enduring example of beauty rising from the ashes.
You can learn more at In Memory of Four Little Girls.
ALMIGHTY God, who hast created man in thine own image; Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil, and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice among men and nations, to the glory of thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (1928 Book of Common Prayer)
O ETERNAL God, our heavenly Father, Who alone makest men to be of one mind in a house, and stillest the outrage of a violent and unruly people; We bless thy holy Name, that it hath pleased thee to appease the racial violence and institutional racism amongst us; most humbly beseeching thee to grant to all of us grace, that we may henceforth obediently walk in thy holy commandments; and, leading a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, may continually offer unto thee our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for these thy mercies towards us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (adapted from 1928 Book of Common Prayer)