On Wednesday June 17, a young man walked thru the open doors of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church here in Charleston, SC. He was welcomed with open arms. After attending Bible study and hearing the prayers of those gathered there, he deliberately and maliciously snuffed out the lives of nine of our dear brothers and sisters in Christ. They included the pastor, other ministers in the church and pillars of the community at large.
I have lived and served God in the beautiful city of Charleston, SC for almost seven years now. In 2009, I was honored when the principal of an elementary school attended by one of the blind youth whom I mentored invited me to be among the presenters for the school's celebration of Black History Month. Rev. Clemente Pinckney was the main speaker for the event. I was blessed to shake his hand and speak with him.
I have served here in Charleston alongside people of all races, ethnicities and ages, on all walks of life, with different abilities and disabilities. God has anointed and blessed this work for God's glory: the establishment of Charleston's first and only Christian outreach center for the blind; the offering of presentations for sighted inner-city youth attending summer camp; the leading of worship in churches, on Charleston's city streets and even on the city buses. I have come to witness firsthand the magnanimous spirit of Christian unity that is the true image of Charleston, SC.
In our unspeakable shock, horror, grief and anger, we still take heart. We know that we will see our nine brothers and sisters in Heaven one day, when we too are among that one glorious, colorful gathering of all the saints at our Lord's table. Please join me in continuing to pray for the healing of the congregation of Emmanuel AME Church and for the healing of this beloved "holy city by the sea." Pray for the perpetrator's family and for his soul. Let us also pray for the work that is yet to be done within the One Body of Christ here on earth. Let us ask God to put each of us where God would have us, and give us all that we need to do our Savior's work.
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear..." (I John 4:18)
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)
We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair; pursued, yet not forsaken, struck down, yet not destroyed; always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." (2 Corinthians 4:8)
"...Behold my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my father who is in Heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother." (Matthew 12:49-50)
Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support. God bless you, and keep His Song in your heart.