I contend that when people come together without anger and with love and “life together” as the end goal, churches will be healthier and people will find that they have more in common.
As this man did, you will discover that God's Word will be fulfilled. Regardless of what others may offer, stay in tune to the words of Jesus. There may be delays, some disappointments, but the promises of God will come to pass. The key is, whose voice are you listening to?
Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Depayne Middleton Doctor, Rev. Daniel Simmons, and Myra Thompson aren’t just victims of a hate crime. They were martyrs. They were bold and faithful witnesses to the Lord unto the end. They became the gospel in flesh and blood. They took seriously the vocation of picking up their crosses and following Jesus.
Racial reconciliation calls people to have “out of the ordinary” moments frequently. It challenges our social and spiritual status quo. One response to the tragedy at Mother Emanuel should be for churches to have more “out of the ordinary” moments with people of a different race around conversations that make us uncomfortable. It is the best way forward.
Do not think for an instant that the evil that pulls the trigger in a Bible study at a black church is different than the evil that drives ISIS recruits to kill Christians; it is the same evil. Christians died worshiping.
what it means to live missionally is to have authentic friendship with people in these networks. If Jesus is truly important to you, and if you have real friendships with people, then Jesus is going to come up sooner or later in the natural course of sharing life.
Anyway, several months ago I was in one of these meetings – probably 40 people there – admiring the raw spirituality of the environment, when during the sharing time a man says, “We don’t have a drinking PROBLEM. We have a drinking SOLUTION. We’ve got all kinds of problems – marriage, parents, self-esteem, and money – and what we all have in common in this room is that our SOLUTION to those problems was to drink them away!” And I thought, “I may have just heard the single most brilliant insight into anything, anywhere in my life.”
The idea of the future has a mysterious quality to it because it is always beyond us, in one sense not yet fulfilled. As you look ahead, what do you anticipate about the future? What concerns or fears do you have? Do you think that in the midst of the inevitable uncertainty regarding various aspects of our future, there is still reason to be hopeful about what lies ahead for you, for your family, or for others? Why or why not?
Remember how much we see Jesus eating with people all the time in the Gospels? The simple and uneventful act of eating with people was central to his mission, and it’s not that difficult. That’s what the early church did. They met with one another in their homes, breaking bread, and telling others about Jesus. Likewise, when we invite others to share a meal, this is extremely meaningful cross-culturally. When we eat together, we discover the inherent humanity of all people. We share stories, hopes, fears, and disappointments. People open up to each other. And we can open up to them to share the same things, including telling them about the truly human one...
Now that light has dawned, one cannot simply stand and look at a symbol of defeat and the past. New life has broken in and we are not allowed to just look; we are invited and commissioned to go and tell.