As we grieve with our brothers and sisters in Charleston, SC, at Emanuel AME Church, we are also amazed at the grace of God at work in them. I heard a black Christian leader say today that if Dylann Roof’s purpose was to ignite a race war, in the mercy of God his tragic and evil act may have had the opposite effect—that what Satan intended for evil God will overturn for good. We admire the faith, courage, and grace shown by our brothers and sisters in this, and continue to pray for them and grieve with them in their loss.
As I said yesterday, a gospel-centered, multi-cultural church is God’s answer to a racially divided country. It’s certainly not the only answer to the problem, but the church can be the place where love, understanding, and forgiveness are lived out. I hope that you at The Summit Church will pray fervently for this situation, and, if you are in the majority culture, reach out to your brothers and sisters of color to let them know you love them and stand with them. Ask them how you can care for and pray for them during this time.
Here are a few of the most impacting and compelling stories we have seen over the last few days:
1. The Families of the Charleston Shooting Victims Forgive Dylann Roof, NY Times. “It was as if the Bible study had never ended as one after another, victims’ family members offered lessons in forgiveness, testaments to a faith that is not compromised by violence or grief.”
2. “I Forgive You, Dylann Roof.” Washington Post. Similar to the NY Times piece, this article has the full seven minute video of the bond hearing, in which several family members spoke up—miraculously—to offer forgiveness.
3. Churches Throughout Charleston Gather in Unity, NY Times. “Here in this city, worship normally contained within church walls spilled into the streets on Sunday. … Jermaine Watkins, who is black and a teaching pastor at Journey Church, declared that the gathering showed that ‘what unites us is stronger than what divides us.’”
4. Standing with Charleston, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC. “The assault on Emanuel AME Church is an assault on all of us. When any part of the Body of Christ hurts, the whole Body of Christ hurts. We grieve, but we grieve in hope. We remember, after all, the meaning of Emanuel Church’s very name, a meaning that makes devils tremble: God is with us.”