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Reflection for June 18, 2015 -- Our calling as the church

posted Jun 18, 2015, 12:37 PM by Parish Administrator

On Wednesday night, a small group of people gathered at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, for Bible study.  A young stranger came to join the group, and even though he looked different, the group welcomed him.  It was, after all, church.

An hour after this young man arrived, he pulled out a gun and began shooting the people gathered there, killing nine including the pastor. 

Like the bombing of the 16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham, this tragedy is made more horrific by the defenselessness of the victims.  When the church is being who it is called to be, it is open and vulnerable.  Like the One who called it into being, the church needs to recognize that it exists in a world where there is hatred and betrayal, and yet the church must live out its calling.


And so, while recent headlines were blasting out news of police bias against African Americans, while the news of shootings and pool parties flooded social media, the people of Emmanuel AME Church continued to be just that - church.  And the pastor and eight other faithful members of Christ's body lost their lives.

I am outraged by this violence.  And my heart breaks for the church and the community.  I hurt for my country as its cities continue along this spiral of disparity and escalating violence.

Yet in the midst of all of this, I recognize that church must continue to be church.  We must continue to be people who demand justice and demonstrate love.  We bear our best witness when we are open, even if our openness leaves us vulnerable.  We cannot let ignorance, violence, or hatred make us less than we are.  

I ask each of you to pray: for wisdom and guidance, for justice and peace.  Pray for the witness we can make as we live out our calling as the church.

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