Our world, so connected through the immediacy of social media and the 24/7 news cycle, has been rocked once again by violence. Less than 48 hours ago, a young man with violence in his heart and a gun in his possession entered the prayer gathering at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. That man sat for an hour in the prayer circle before spewing hatred about African Americans and shooting his gun, killing nine church members who were simply there to pray. In a twist that I’m not sure I understand quite yet, he reportedly deliberately let one person live, saying her role was to tell the story of what she saw and heard.
My heart breaks.
On Facebook, I’ve read comments about how unbelievable this is ~ but the tragedy is that it is NOT un-believable. It’s all TOO believable, because we live in a world that is so riven with hatreds. Yes, we’ve made progress over the centuries, but old hatreds die slowly.
Here’s what: I’m at home, sick, and with a cold-medicine-addled head. I’m not feeling particularly articulate about this situation at the moment, and it’s important to speak clearly at this time. So all I’m going to say at the moment is this: my heart breaks. And in my heartache, I turn to God. Please pray with me:
You who love all of your children,
we are hurting.
We need you
to bind our wounds and steel our minds
and open our hearts and heal us.
We need you
to send us forth in courage,
speaking the truth about our human brokenness,
speaking peace while seeking justice.
Guide us, we pray,
and work your miraculous love
on those hearts that are grieving,
but also on those hearts that carry hatred.
Help us to be caretakers of your love,
builder of your bridges,
witnesses to your life-changing, heart-healing truth.
For this we pray in Jesus name.