Psalm 109:26 – Help me, Lord my God; save me according to your unfailing love. (NIV 2011)
The inhumane horror that was unleashed Wednesday night at a Bible study in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, USA, is impossible to understand. Many of the victims' families and friends, as well as the church members and community, will be voicing the heartbreaking question of "Why? Why, God? Why?" It's something that will never be satisfactorily answered. Man's inhumanity to man is a blasphemous evil which contaminates the whole universe. Eons ago, when God created us and pronounced humanity "good", it didn't take us very long to spoil His creation. In our present age of polemic polarization, we are sadly seeing more of these wicked, horrendous, and barbarous events.
At Erin Church, in Knoxville, Tennessee, our marketing team has just recently redefined our vision statement. It reads as follows: "Unified in Christ, we actively seek to create harmony in a diverse community through compassion, mutual respect, and love."
It's not a passive statement; it requires our church to be actively engaged in our city. In communities where fear and distrust, as well as violence and brutality, are increasing, our church feels called to get involved in breaking down the barriers that we all have built around race, class, religion, and personal choice. It's a communal calling which will challenge and change us especially, with the hope that we can bring about effective, positive, and compassionate changes locally, nationally, and even internationally.
We may not understand why terrible, wicked, and painful events occur in the world, but we can face the challenges that such occurrences engender, by joining with others who truly seek harmony in our diverse community, through the active sharing of compassion, mutual respect, and love.
Questions for personal reflection: Where is my community broken, fearful, and divisive? What can my church do to heal the wounds and bridge the gaps?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we pray for the families and church members of Emanuel Church in Charleston. We know that their hearts will be painfully broken and their minds will be terribly confused. Surround them with Your Holy Spirit, as well as with good people and compassionate churches who will care for them, embrace them, and support them. Help us, also, to do all that we can to minister to our own community with Your compassion, respect, and love. In Your holy name, we lamentably pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "The Day Of Resurrection" (Lyrics)