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I cannot imagine what that first Sunday was like.
What I do know is that my heart aches for the Emanuel community. The way they have responded to this grave injustice serves as a model for all of Christianity. Through their grief and pain, they offer forgiveness and love.
“Love is and ever will be the greatest tool against the wrongs and ills of the world. Love for all was able to end slavery, to give women the right to vote, to end segregation (at least formally we have a lot of work to do) and we aren’t done yet.”
“Where there is grief…love will be there
“Where there is pain… love will be there
Where there is heartache… love will be there
Where there is joy… love will be there
Where there is a body worshiping God to the fullest existent stirring them to be more like God/Christ… love will be there
Love will prevail, love is the answer, love is God!”
taken from Rev. Evan’s sermon, June 21, 2015.
Emanuel AME Church, June 21, 2015
The news channels and the internet have been buzzing with the terrible tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina. In an instant nine souls were lost in an act of hatred.
It’s a story is becoming all too familiar.
The shooting in Charleston brought these feelings and more to light. The loss of innocent life in any situation is tragic and wrong. On top of all of this, the senseless shooting took place in a church, a house of worship, where those killed were reading, studying and trying to learn from scriptures that have been passed down from generation to generation of what it means to be a faithful follower of a God. They wanted to learn to love like Jesus; they wanted to learn how to serve with compassion; they wanted to hear the promises of God told and re told again; they wanted to serve a God who is full of love for all people and all races; they wanted more for their lives.
This was not supposed to happen at all and especially not in a church.
The church is supposed to be different.
Church should be a place of sanctuary and rest.
Church should be a place of comfort and refuge.
Church is supposed to be a place to seek solace from the world around us, from grief and sorrow. Contained within the walls of a church is a promise that no matter how bad the world is there is a God who is above it all.
We can try to rationalize what happened or even try to articulate why but as people of faith we must hold on to the promise that one day there will be a time when swords will be turned into plowshares and the lion will lie with the lamb. There will be a time when God’s love will supersede hate, where God’s peace will supersede rage, where God’s hope will supersede doubt.
We live in a world in desperate need of a savior.
May God send God’s peace, mercy, love, grace and justice, now and forever.
“I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”– Revelation 21:3-5 (Common English Bible)
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“I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.”– President Obama speaking about the shooting in Charleston, SC.
As we draw closer to the release of Seeking Imperfection I want to let you know that I want to come see you! If you or your faith community would like to have me come and speak about Seeking Imperfection, please let me know! The easiest way is to click here and fill out the form!
Last week I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to attend the Association of Professional Chaplains conference; while there I had my interview to become a Board Certified Chaplain (spoiler alert: I was approved for certification).
I had a good time in the city and was able to catch up with old friends. Getting to Louisville was quite the experience; I flew to Dallas but then was rerouted to Washington, DC and then to Louisville. (Click here to view my Trip Map)
Below are some pictures from my adventure.