Riding the bike at the gym, my eyes jumped from one flatscreen TV to another. One of the TVs, displaying CNN’s round-the-clock news, caught my attention. “Church Massacre” were the words I remember.
I stared in disbelief. 9 people dead.
Nine African Americans were killed while attending a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The attack was premeditated.
As I watched the breaking news coverage, I felt angry tension welling up in me. When is this going to end? Then I thought, I honestly don’t know if this will ever end.
The issues surrounding this horrific tragedy are complicated, and it rubs salt in the already open wounds of African Americans. I don’t have the answers. I don’t know what to feel.
I don’t know how to respond as a white American Christian who is part of the majority culture.
I can’t fully understand the pain or the depth of the wounds. But I’m still hurting.
Last night, as I was lying in bed reading more news from the day, I stumbled on an article by The Washington Post memorializing the life of each victim. I read about Sharonda Coleman-Singleton. “Few things motivated the 45-year-old mother of three more than answering the upper calling to spread the gospel,” the article said. I paused. I seemed to connect with this woman. We are united by the gospel.
“Mourn with those who mourn” from Romans 12:15 are the words that constantly come to mind. And to be honest, I don’t know exactly what that looks like. I wish I did.
What I do know about mourning is that I need to allow my heart to break. I need to allow myself to feel the anger and the sadness. I need to rejoice in hope that these believers are with Jesus. And I need to allow these emotions to move me to prayer and ongoing dialogue.
We cry out for justice. We long for peace. We hope for a day when evil will end. But we live between the “now” and the “not yet.” We have confidence that creation will be restored and the Lord will make all things right. And we cry, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come.”
Would you pray with me for the victims’ families? For Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old alleged shooter? For his family, for open dialogue, for healing, for our country? And would you be a part of the conversation with me?
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