Today is one of those days when my heart is heavy about the evil and darkness that is such a part of our world.
This week nine African-American Christians lost their lives in a shooting in their own church at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. A group of a dozen people had gathered for a prayer meeting and a young white male shot and killed most of the people in the room. The tragedy today is heavy on many hearts and the prayers of God’s people should all be for the families of the victims as well as the church which has been so devastated by this evil racist act.
I’m going to say a few things that I believe all of us know but that I believe the Church in the world must say and continue to say loudly and long until we are heard.
Christians and the Church must do everything in its power to oppose racism in any form. We must stand up for the rights of our black sisters and brother and persons of any racial or ethnic group that are oppressed, attacked or discriminated against. Jesus would allow us to do no less. And we must be diligent and consistent in our support for the equality people in all forms. We are all members of the same family, the family of God.
We also need to speak out about the violence which has become too much a part of our society. We need to speak to a culture which glorifies violence and makes it far too easy to obtain weapons of violence that can be used against our fellow innocent citizens by people who have no business possessing them. It is not an easy issue. But more must be done.
So I call on Grace UMC to pray for our brothers and sisters in Charleston. But as individual citizens of this country I call on each of you to think about how each of us can be a part of changing a culture steeped in racism and violence. Let us not just pray. Let us also work in the name of Jesus for peace and wholeness.