Next week, Christians will mark the most solemn string of days on the church calendar, when the devout recall the grim pageant of violence that led to Calvary Hill.

But here in Louisiana, three African American congregations in St. Landry Parish have already confronted a vivid reminder of human depravity with the recent burnings of their church buildings.

With the reported arrest of a suspect in that destruction, the members of those churches — St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre, and Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church in Opelousas — can perhaps be comforted that the immediate threat to their congregations has been eliminated.

In the larger story of humanity, of course, hatred has always been with us, as the burnings of African American churches in other chapters of American history make clear. What happened in St. Landry Parish has rightly attracted national attention, and this week’s arrest in the suspected church arsons will draw even more. Perhaps some will try to tie these crimes to the peculiar pathology of Southern racism, which has a long and bitter legacy.

Yet the hard truth is that bigotry lives in many places, as the all-too-frequent reports of assaulted churches, mosques and synagogues tell us. That stain is part of the human condition, but so is the thirst for justice and the broad desire for peace and security.

Those principles were affirmed this month as a broad array of local, state and federal officials — some 200 people, by one count — worked tirelessly to investigate the St. Landry church burnings and apprehend anyone responsible for the losses. Republicans and Democrats joined in expressing their horror and outrage at the violation of houses of worship. Louisianans of all races — and Americans from every walk of life — expressed a shared disgust at the thought that a place of God would be targeted for evil.

There is something stronger than evil, and it found an eloquent voice in the words of the Rev. Harry Richard of Greater Union Baptist Church, one of those that burned. “I want whoever did this to know that we love them,” he said. “Sometimes I understand people who are hurting hurt people, but we love them.”

Such compassion is a miracle, one of many on which the faith of those who embrace a loving God is built.

Across the world, Christians this month are reflecting with renewed purpose on the promise of resurrection. Here in Louisiana, in the midst of cinders and rubble, three church congregations are grasping with a deepened sense of resolve what resurrection calls the faithful to do.

We’re confident that these congregations will rebound, stronger than ever. That would be a fitting answer to the violence that visited their doorsteps — and a powerful expression of those gifts of the spirit no human hand can ever destroy.