We had a special time in our services this past Sunday - a mini solemn assembly as we led into our sermon time. With the faces displayed on our screen of the nine men and women who were killed last Wednesday night at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, we read their names and then opened up to prayer. As, one-by-one, members of the congregation stood and prayed for the families of these victims, for the church, for the perpetrator, and for our nation, tears were shed and hearts were broken.
|Emanuel AME Church, Charleston|
It was a powerful time, a growing time - a real moment for our local church family. We were encouraged as we heard about the openness of this African-American church welcoming a troubled young white man into their Bible study. We were in awe as I read out loud a couple of the bond hearing quotes from the victims’ family members offering their forgiveness and praying for the salvation of the man who had just slaughtered their loved ones. Through God's perfect grace and those grieving people's amazing faith, this evil act has led to a time for the world to see our Family - the extended, global Family of God - at its absolute best.
I read a quote from Michael Daly at The Daily Beast (a website not necessarily known for its conservatism nor its love of Christianity) giving his take on the bond hearing - “Even the most cynical atheist had to have been in awe as the family members of the murdered faithful rose one after another in the Charleston courtroom and proved the power of their own faith in the face of crushing loss.”
That’s Christianity. That’s being a true light.
Here’s where this blog is at - I had a whole post mapped out talking about race and the church. Honestly, I can’t bring myself to write it today. It would distract us away from the main issue facing us right here, right this moment, and that is that we have brothers and sisters who are in pain today and they need our prayers. Analyzing and pontificating can wait for another day.
So, this is my challenge to you. Take the time you would have spent reading the rest of this blog if it had been full length (maybe another five minutes) and pray. Pray for the family members of Cynthia Hurd, Pastor Clementa Pinckney, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Daniel Simmons, Depayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders Bottom, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance, and Susie Jackson. Pray for our dear brothers and sisters at Emanuel AME Church. Pray for the salvation of Dylann Roof. Pray that God takes this tragedy in our Family and uses it to show our me-first culture who the true Jesus really is. Thanks.