By Pastor Terri
The day started off with sadness today. As I woke up, the news was full of the story of the young white man who went into a black Charleston South Carolina church, joined in with an ongoing Bible study for about an hour and then stood up, spewing hateful racist words and shot and killed 9 people, including the pastor. Is there any doubt that the enemy walks among us?!?
I could rant and rave on and on about things like, how does a 21 year old come to hate like that….or didn’t he show any signs of mental illness …..or how could a young man even conceive such a plan much less carry it off? But these questions really have no real answers and yet, they have a multitude of answers. But the answers to those questions will not bring those people back to us. The answers will not make that church feel safe again. The answers will not make the WORLD feel safe again.
Our world is NOT safe. As long as the enemy is allowed to roam freely, it will never be safe. So how do we fix this? How do we make the world a safe place for our children and our grandchildren? The answer is simple……..Jesus. Jesus did more than just provide our salvation. He taught us how to live. He didn’t bring the Good News message to only the Jews. In fact, He went out of His way to bring that message to the gentiles. Jesus’ message and His salvation is for EVERYONE. But so many people have not built a relationship with Him yet. Christian folks are supposed to share Him, churches are supposed to share His message, but we are failing! I look at all of the empty places in our sanctuary on Sunday and I worry about the church’s health. This tragedy has reminded me that the survival of the church is not the real issue. The real issue is the survival of mankind!
Was this young man ever introduced to the Jesus we know? Was this young man ever invited to a loving, caring, inclusive church? Was this young man ever taught to “love his neighbor as himself”? And the even scarier question, how many more young people are out there who need to be reached?
Friends, we cannot continue to look at our church as a place for us to take care of each other. That is a priority, but an even more urgent priority is that we need to lead more people to Christ. The world needs more of what Christ came to give but so many people still don’t know about Him! So ask your friends and family to join you at church! Ask them again and again and again. Don’t prejudge their answers except to ASSUME that they would Love to go! Invite them to the Bible studies and small group studies. In fact, invite them to everything— you never know what will get them to join you.
Please be in prayer for our brothers and sisters at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and for young Dylann and his family.