I am officially back from a much-needed family vacation. Over the course of the last 14 days, I have spent many hours in the car, on the beach, and hanging out with the ones I love most - my family. One of the things I try to do on vacation is “unplug.” This allows me to make the most of this precious family time. However, it only takes reading one post on social media to quickly re-enter reality.
The recent tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina, was suddenly on every post, tweet, message and blog. When I turned on the TV, the story was on every news station. My heart sank as I learned of the nine AME (Africa Methodist Episcopal) church shooting victims - brothers and sisters in Christ, beautiful children of God - killed at an evening prayer meeting. How can this be? This is 2015!
I must confess, this news was beyond me. I cannot comprehend the evil and hatred that has been done. I cannot properly articulate the disbelief, sadness, and struggle I continue to experience. This is not the world I had hoped to raise my children in.
So what do I do? What can I do?
I know we cannot be silent. Why? Because we are followers of Jesus. Jesus taught, first and foremost, that God is Love. Jesus taught us by word and action to love ALL.
You and I must be living witnesses to God’s unconditional love for all of His children. We must witness, by our language and our actions, love and hospitality to everyone. May we strive for our communities and our lives to more closely resemble God’s dream for all humankind. May we teach our children to see diversity and difference as a gift of God.
I ask that you join together with me and other Christians across our world by praying for those who have been murdered, for their families, and for the congregation of Emanuel AME Church. I also ask you to pray for our children and families. Pray for our VBS this week, and pray that we all will learn, grow and be challenged to put the Lord's unstoppable love into action.
P.S. Remember when you are on the road traveling this summer, you can always keep up with our sermon series online.