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Emanuel

June 17, 2020

“And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!'” Genesis 4:10

Five years ago today, a white supremacist named Dylann Roof entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, and joined a Bible study. While the church members began to pray, Roof started to shoot, saying (among other things), “Y’all want something to pray about? I’ll give you something to pray about.” Roof killed nine people that day. There were three survivors.

Five years ago today, a white supremacist, who belonged to a Lutheran congregation, murdered nine Black Christians while they studied the Bible at historic Mother Emanuel.

Today, I remember. I remember that week because two days earlier I had returned from Grace, which had voted to call me as their next senior pastor. I remember preparing to preach a sermon about pastoral transitions. And I remember that when Sunday came, that sermon had long been thrown out the window, because God needed to speak a Word about a white terrorist killing Black Christians not much more than an hour away. A Word of hope, yes, but also a Word of conviction and call.

Today, I remember:

Clementa C. Pinckney (41)
Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd (54)
Susie Jackson (87)
Ethel Lee Lance (70)
Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49)
Tywanza Sanders (26)
Daniel L. Simmons (74)
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45)
Myra Thompson (59)

Today, I remember. Today, I promise to work faithfully to build the peaceable Kingdom. Today, I reject again any form of racism of white supremacy. Won’t you join me?

In the name of the church, we find our hope: Emanuel, God-With-Us.

Black lives matter.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

Redeeming God, save us! We are trapped in cycles of violence and hatred that are as old as time and as fresh as a new wound. Lift us out of our sin. Free us to do better. May the memory of the Emanuel Nine be a blessing, and a call to do the hard work. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by Evan Guthrie (used with permission).

From → Odds and Ends

One Comment
  1. Paul Haberstock permalink

    Today I think with you of that devastating time at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church because several years later I happened to be lost on the streets of Charleston one evening and asked an officer how to get where I wanted to be. He chose to drive me there and in the brief minutes of the ride shared the trauma he experienced as a responding officer to the scene at Emanuel; how his life was turned upside down for weeks and the only help he finally got from his doctor was “you have PTSD.” Please also pray for Critical Incident Stress Management persons who hear and guide 1st responders to some wholeness from that which they experienced.

    Paul Haberstock

    On Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 7:19 AM Grace upon Grace wrote:

    > Dave Lyle posted: “”And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen; your > brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!'” Genesis 4:10 Five > years ago today, a white supremacist named Dylann Roof entered Emanuel > African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, an” >

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