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.