I spent much of yesterday continuing to think about the shooting in a church in Charleston. I am chilled by the fact that the shooter arrived as if he wanted to pray with the group. He sat with them for an hour and then shot them.
I thought of the times we've had small meetings (by which I mean not worship services) at church in the evenings. We've kept the doors locked once everyone arrived. Of course, if the criminal is already inside, that doesn't help.
I thought of all the unstable people who have come to worship (see this post for the most recent experience). We try to be welcoming. We try not to think of the possible bad outcomes.
I've watched the outpourings of grief. I've thought about how violence can unite disparate groups. We saw that with the earliest Church. We are seeing it now.
I am not going to get embroiled in conversations about gun control or lack of it. I went to a variety of schools in a variety of places where most homes had guns. I remember trucks with occupied gun racks in the parking lot of my high school in Knoxville, Tennessee. No one shot up the school.
I will not talk at great length about the disappearance of mental health services. As a nation, we've always had spotty access to good health care, and most of us have not had the kind of care that pays attention to the whole body.
I will spend time thinking about the frayed social fabric and how the Church can be part of the reweaving process. I will spend time thinking about my local church and my individual life.
As I move through the day, I interact with a wide variety of people--as someone who tends to the more introverted side of the scale, I do often find it draining.
But what if I saw my interactions in the world as part of my ministry. What if I saw each encounter as a way to recapture the loose threads of society that I can't even see?
I am not naïve. I realize that the prayer group in Charleston likely welcomed the young man that they'd never seen before. They probably saw themselves as part of the reweaving process.
I am not sure how God will use that incident for good--but I am already seeing the process working, as the nation grieves.
Resurrection and redemption--it's a funny business, and a process that often includes elements we'd prefer to avoid, like humiliation and death. Again and again, I remind myself of the Easter message that death does not have the final word.
Again and again: death does not have the final word.
feeling the feelings…
6 months ago