Suffering and pain exist in our world. Some is personal and close to home. Some is far away and makes us shake our heads and lift up a prayer for those being afflicted. And then there are tragedies like the shootings in South Carolina. My heart aches, tears well up in my eyes, and a lump forms in my throat. Prayers are offered at a deeper level as I feel connected to my brothers and sisters in Christ who are hurting so much right now. Thoughts will often turn to those who are hurting often over the next days and prayers will continue to be lifted up.
It is hard for me to understand how one could take another’s life so easily. It is hard to understand and come to grips with the beliefs and emotions that could lead one to do something like this. But there must be a deeper level to the basic explanation that will emerge. Something was going on there that we will probably never really comprehend. Yet we must also be faithful to the faith we claim and offer prayer for the shooter and his family. This is hard but God’s redeeming mercy and grace are for all people. We are saved and loved not because of what we have done.
May God surround the families and friends immediately touched by this tragedy with all of His love, strength, and compassion. May our Lord wrap this church and community tightly in His mighty arms. May our Father bring healing to the strife that too often separates us. May He be present.