Tragedy in Charleston: Thoughts on the Church Shooting

Clementa Pinckney

Clementa Pinckney

Thoughts on the Church Shooting: All Things for Good blog

Many in the U.S. know of last week’s tragic shooting at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. I’m not gifted in the words to express what this means to all of us, but a pastor, Garrett Kell, wrote an outstanding article on his blog, All Things for Good. Here’s a portion:

On Sunday, June 21, 2015 the wounded but resilient Emanuel AME church assembled once again. The pews were filled with members and visitors from every color. As they walked through those doors they carried the strange mix of being heavy yet hopeful; afflicted, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:7-9).

The building that was filled with gun smoke on Wednesday was filled with joyful songs on Sunday.

The room that was stained with blood on Wednesday was saturated with praise on Sunday.

The place that was divided by hate on Wednesday was hand in hand in love on Sunday.

… What the world witnessed on Sunday was the resilience of a church who has not, will not, cannot, be killed.

Do they weep? Yes. Do they grieve? Yes. Will they ever be the same? No. But have they given up? No.

I highly recommend reading his full article, When Grace and Evil Collide–A Reflection on Charleston. Pastor Kell also outlines the tragic history of this church that makes the shooting and the response of love and grace from the victims’ families even more compelling.

Thoughts on the Church Shooting: The Sovereign blog

I’m reminded that church shootings are common in other parts of our world as well. We should be mindful and prayerful about all such tragedies. When they happen close to home let’s then remember in prayer those who live in an atmosphere of hate where their lives are threatened daily and where they don’t have freedom to worship God.

I’m also struck by the leadership of Pastor Clementa Pinckney. Although murdered last Wednesday, his faithful flock responded to this tragic and senseless shooting with the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This man I’m sure has heard these words now from his Master, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21 ESV)

Further reading:  This article, Charleston: Governor, senators join in saying Confederate flag should go (CNN), is about a growing discussion to take down the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina state Capitol grounds in Columbia.

Image source: I found Clementa Pinckney’s photo on the Internet. This photo had no photo credit for it. I wish to honor Clementa Pinckney and not take advantage of his family and their personal tragedy.


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