I remember reading about this tragedy moments after it happened, my heart began to break for this church, for the community, and for the families that would forever be affected by one person’s hate filled act. A church, which has long stood for racial equality; built during a time of slavery, struggling through a history of injustice, all the while ministering to the community around it.
We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ in Charleston, South Carolina. The brutal massacre of those in prayer at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church should shock the conscious of every person. There is hardly a more vivid picture of unmasked evil than the murder of those in prayer.
This act of bloodshed is wicked and more than wicked. It is literally satanic, as our Lord taught us that the devil is a “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). We see the sin of racism played out daily on our city streets and in our rural communities. Poverty, violence, broken families, lack of resources, and lack of understanding. The vicious cycle of racism must stop… But how, is it even our job?
YES, the church of Jesus Christ must lead the way. The church should show to the outside world what it means to be reconciled to God and to one another. We must embody the truth that we are all created in the image of God and that those of us in Christ have been brought near to God by the blood of Jesus. We share in a common table of fellowship, an indwelling spirit, and an inheritance that we will share together, forever.
Death cannot hold these truths back.
Since the Gospel is true, we should speak and work as the church for racial justice in the public arena and for racial reconciliation in our own communities. This is not merely the cause of African American Christians but for all Christians.
Let us at Park View Christian Church, a church that is 450 miles from this tragedy, be a church that continues to be a church of racial equality and racial healing within our community.
I will leave you with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. :
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never be a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
Pastor Tim Campbell