The Body of Christ – Wounded But Not Defeated
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The Name of Jesus Christ is still the Name that is above every name in heaven and in earth. It is in His Name that we send His Peace.
At times of such unspeakable tragedy and grief, words seem pointless, useless, and completely inadequate. Our language does not contain words that can pinpoint the pain in our hearts for the membership of Emanuel AME Church. Please know that the Canaan fellowship shares your grief during this season. The entire Body of Christ is wounded – but we are not defeated!
I have said on so many occasions to the church family, “You never know when it will be your day to go home to be with the Lord, just be ready”. Even before becoming a pastor I understood that our faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s Cross only guarantees us where we will spend eternity; but, how we enter eternity is not ours to decide.
As painful as it has been to address previous incidences perpetrated against African Americans the past 18 months, the latest incident of detestable evil in Charleston, SC renders me numb! The pastor and State Senator, The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, other ministers, a librarian, a track coach/secretary and others – some whose lives may have been drawing to a close naturally by virtue of their age, and others whose lives were not yet in their prime, now silenced. They were pillars in their church and community who gathered in obedience to the Word of God, “Study to show yourself approved unto God” (II Tim.2:15), and “Pray without ceasing” (I Thess.5:15). Their prayerful position made them completely vulnerable to the young perpetrator sitting among them who had violent segregationist ideologies. As difficult as it may be to pray for him, we must!
Anger! It is probably safe to say that the entire Body of Christ is angry about this tragedy. For sure, this could happen in any church, in any city, in any country. But, we must turn our intermittent anger over evil into continuous action to eradicate racism and ensure that tragedies such as this are incapable of ever happening again. Although our religious affiliations and ideologies may differ, we believe every church, mosque, and temple should indeed be a “sanctuary” for its people. People in prayer should not have to fear for their safety or their lives.
As the Pastor and members of Emanuel AME gathered in prayer, their lives were taken, and so we take this opportunity to complete what they started: “…Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”. We believe that our brothers and sisters from Emanuel AME now reside with our Savior: “For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”
In Christian Sympathy,
Larry Owens, Jr., M.Div.