On Wednesday evening, June 17, 2015, evil once again reared its ugly head in the United States of America. Our hearts mourn the loss of nine lives brutally taken from this earth in Charleston, South Carolina. In a world where racism, hatred, and sin run deep, we turn our anguished hearts toward heaven to seek hope and divine consolation. It is at the end of a painful week such as this that we strongly encourage Church of God congregations in North America and around the world to seek peace, reconciliation, and justice on bended knee.
We urge every congregation to lift our brothers and sisters in Charleston, South Carolina, in prayer during your Sunday gathering. Pray for all affected by these murders to receive God’s comfort. Pray for the community to minister to one another. Pray for God’s grace to be evident to a watching world, in Jesus’ name.
“‘Touch not the Lord’s anointed.’ So says the Word,” Jim Lyon said, citing Psalm 105:15 in a tweet shortly following the news of the tragedy that struck the historic African-American church in the heart of the second largest city in South Carolina. “The Charleston church shooting is an assault on all believers.” Later Jim added, “The Christian witness of [the] surviving family members of [the] Charleston Church shooting dwarfs [the] killer’s hatred; only Jesus can inspire such forgiveness.”
Bob Moss, chief advancement officer at Church of God Ministries, spoke on behalf of the organization. “Church of God Ministries condemns violence against others, whether that violence is perpetrated by weapons or words,” he said. “We encourage everyone to pray, privately and in corporate worship, for the loved ones of the victims of murderous violence in South Carolina. Pray that the Church of God everywhere may respond as Jesus would.”
David Aukerman, pastor of Mt. Haley Church of God in Midland, Michigan, found and communicated a helpful resource for churches to utilize during their Sunday morning worship. This “One Church Liturgy” intended for use in the wake of such a heinous crime can be viewed at www.onechurchliturgy.com.
The world is broken. The world is hurting. We are broken. We are hurting. It’s time to unite in prayer. It’s time to follow-up our prayers in bold action for the sake of the kingdom. In every word that we say and in every action that we take, may all see Jesus, and Jesus alone.
UPDATE, June 25, 2015: In view of tragedies sparked by racism including, but not limited to the recent South Carolina shooting, the General Assembly came together this year to pass a resolution denouncing racism. As GA 2015 materials are made available, they will be posted at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org/general-assembly.
Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.