I don’t know where to begin. As many have said, there are no words to define the horror I feel at one more tragic event. That Charleston church now houses the souls and spirits of people who were and are loved. They were celebrating their faith, harming no one. Each of them was a contributing member of society. They harbored no hate for the youth sitting among them. They were in the midst of worship.
As a believer I wonder why God would allow one more senseless killing spree. Why? A question asked by many. The comforting truth is that God was in that room taking into himself each life. They believed it; I believe it. The evil that invaded that sacred space was there long enough to do its dreadful dead, and then ran away, as all cowards do. What remains is the gift of God’s amazing, amazing grace. Now we join with their loved ones in their grief. We remember and celebrate all they were and are to their families, their communities, this country, their church, and to each other.
I will not name the perpetrator. I do not need to examine his life and make excuses for him. The courts and others will see the need to glorify this deed through giving it masses of attention. In my view those who carry out horrendous acts of death and destruction should be denied one ounce of newspaper ink or one clip of video.
Honor the fallen. Support their loved ones. Give voice to their pain.
My prayer today is:
Thank you, God, for allowing Clementa, Sharonda, Myra, Tywanza, Ethel Lee, Cynthia, Daniel, DePayne, and Susie to share their lives and their wisdom this side of heaven. May their legacy of faith change the world. Amen
Thank you, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, for being the best dad and husband you could be, a respected man of God, a public servant in the Senate, an advocate for justice, and a man of honor. Your legacy is immeasurable.
Thank you, Rev. Sharonda Singleton, your faithful service in your church, your family, and your community remain a strong reminder of how each of us can make a difference by doing what we are called to do.
Thank you, Myra Thompson, for the ways you touched the lives of others; your gifts and grace are known by many.
Thank you, Tywanza Sanders, for your desire for an education and for your faith. Your life mattered. You made a difference. You will be remembered.
Thank you Ethel Lee Lance, for being the heart of your family, and for working for many years as a sexton at the church you loved.
Thank you Cynthia Hurd, a dedicated employee, a faithful servant in the church, and a woman whose goal in life was to improve the lives of others.
Thank you, Rev. Daniel L. Simmons Sr., for your years as a minister. Your influence will be seen in generation after generation of those who attended your church and heard you preach.
Thank you, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, for your commitment to be there for people when they needed you, and for the ways you lived your faith every day.
Thank you, Susie Jackson, for your 87 years of life and laughter, and for reaching out to others in the ways you were able. You continue to be honored by your family and all who remember you.
We will not forget any of you. No one can take from your family and friends the memories you knitted together with your extraordinary lives.