How Do You Make Sense out of the Senseless?
9 lives. Gone. Families and a community left to pick up the pieces. On Wednesday night one man sat though a time of Bible Study and prayer and then open fired killing 9 people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. When I checked my Twitter feed that night I read the news and tears started freely flowing. These individuals had come together as the body of Christ, to study the word of God and to cover each other, their families, and their community in prayer. My heart broke. It didn't make sense. Nothing made sense. But how do you put into words your feelings regarding such a senseless tragedy and were do we go from here, how do we respond? Since Wednesday night we have read, heard, and seen much debate on race in America and gun control, but that is not the purpose of this post, if you want to have those discussions with me, lets get coffee and talk it over. For me, my response is with the powerful, scandalous, life changing love of Jesus.
The love of Jesus is just so crazy to me. His love was so great for us that He gave up His very life so that we might have life. He is a light in a dark world and shines bright. It could be so very easy to get trapped in a cycle of hate. To allow fear and anger to take over our hearts, and forget about the love that was lavished on us. I am not going to lie, I was mad and angry when I first heard the news. My brothers and sisters in Christ had gathered to study God's Word and to pray, and while they were doing that a man filled with evil and darkness sat and listened to their discussions and their prayers and then he opened fire and took their lives. I was filled with hate and anger. But then like a ton of bricks, which is how God does it so many times, I realized I was becoming a part of the cycle of hate. I was meant to be a source of light.
Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior once said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Simply put while it is okay to mad and angry, we must not become a part of the cycle of hate, but in order to bring true healing to a broken and hurting world, we must bring love. We must show the love and the light of Christ. As I began to wrap my head around this concept, I began to feel peace.
So where does this leave us? Where do we go from here? The first thing we get down on our knees and we wrap the community of Charleston in prayer. We are the Church, the church is not a building but the Bride of Christ, we act like accordingly. We show love and we show light. We live out the verse of Micah 6:8 out, We act justly, we love mercy, and we walk humbly with our God. We act justly by seeking justice against those that harmed and endangered the Body of Christ, we love mercy by showing mercy to even the least of these, fully knowing that our God has already shown mercy, and we walk humbly knowing that even in the darkest of situations God is at work.
To the families of my fallen brothers and sisters, I pray for peace and for comfort. I pray that you will be surrounded by the comforting and powerful love of Christ. I pray that you will be able to face the next day and the day after that, fully knowing that some days you just have to take it five minutes at a time. I pray that you will never feel alone but covered with compassion and grace.
To the church leaders of Emanuel AME Church, I thank you for your leadership. I pray for healing for your church family and I pray for wisdom and discernment in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. You are so deeply loved.
To the community leaders of Charleston, South Carolina, I pray for wisdom and guidance. I pray over your leadership as you begin to heal your community.
For the Church in America, I pray that we do not turn a blind eye. I pray that we will live out the high calling of Christ to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strengths, and that we will love our neighbors as ourselves. I pray that we will not be consumed with hate but instead consumed with God's love and show it everywhere and to everyone.