Of course we are all saddened. Of course we will all pray. The sanctity of a sanctuary has been broken. Fellow workers in the kingdom have been killed. The events in Charleston grieve our hearts.
But beyond grief and prayers, I believe this is a moment to help our congregation connect the dots. If you’ve never uttered “Black Lives Matter” from the pulpit, this is your Sunday. If you’ve wanted to but have been afraid that those words will put up more barriers than bridges, this is your Sunday. If you’ve felt uncomfortable with that phrase because it feels exclusive to white people, this is your Sunday.
In the blood of martyrs are the seeds of faith.
Charleston has martyrs. We don’t have information on the shooting or the shooter right now. But good faithful people and a righteous pastor were killed because they were at church. That church is a historic black church. A congregation of the African Methodist Episcopal tradition. Martyrs killed because their faith told them it was good to study the word together. And for that they lost their lives.
If it never did before in your congregation – or in your heart – be transformed by this with the renewing of your mind:
Black Lives Matter.
These martyrs, their black lives matter.
And if you can claim the power to speak that in the midst of this tragedy, then perhaps our congregations can begin to see events that are twisted by the media not as isolated incidents but as patterns of violence. The names and the hashtags – Trayvon, Mike, Eric, Rekia, Aiyanna, Darius, Dontre – they are a great cloud. To what do they bear witness?
If you are afraid, remember the Lord did not give you spirit of fear but power. Say Black Lives Matter.
If you are unsure of the good news and gospel that would bring to your context, pray on it that God would give you a spirit of revelation and wisdom.
I write this not as a “should.” I see this not as “Law.” Rather in the spirit of exhortation and encouragement I am sharing what God has put on my heart.
In Peace and Power.