We all mourn the tragedy in Charleston, where the hatred of one white man for black people turned into murderous rage. Eight African American Christians are dead. As a nation we don’t know how to even think about such an evil act. We are humbled by the forgiving spirit of these families and friends.
Pundits are talking about gun control and the confederate flag, both of which are important discussions; however as Christians we are called to a heavenly perspective, and there are some things we should talk about.
This 21-year old man was hoping his rage would turn into a war. Yet there are no shots being fired back. He chose not just to kill African-Americans. More significantly he chose to kill believers in Christ, those who knew the amazing grace of Christ, who gave Himself for our sins. Satan steals and kills and destroys; Jesus gives life and peace. There is a world of difference.
The situation does call us all to healing. There are significant issues surrounding race in American that we do not appreciate as the majority culture (i.e. Caucasian). What efforts are we making to really listen to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are black? Not just with our head but with our hearts.
Remember we talked about healing as shalom. That means wholeness in relationships. We need Christ’s shalom in this situation. This would only come by His grace, as we sit, weep, listen, converse, pray and plan together. We must speak with one another then we can speak to the nation.
How grateful I am to see brothers and sisters of all races and colors join together in prayer in Charleston. We must not allow this to just be an isolated incident, because it is symptomatic of a deeper dis-ease, a dividing wall which Christ has broken down at His cross. By His grace may this be the beginning of peace, not war. The peace of shalom, expressed in words, prayer and action which live out the story of redemption, that Christ has conquered sin and death, and by the power of the forgiveness of the cross invites all to join in one body.
Remember in my last post, I said, “And nowadays we have not just two, but innumerable cultures in the church. Walls says, “Like the old Jerusalem Christians, Western Christians had long grown used to the idea that they were guardians of a ‘standard’ Christianity..” But the church is now very diverse, and in that diversity can more fully express the glory of God and the sweetness of His Son Jesus Christ, who brings us together yet allows us to express His grace separately.”
Let us pray and trust the Lord to enable us to find and create practical bridges between the various cultures representing America, and thus show our unity in Christ in love. But this will take some sacrifice from us as “majority” culture, just as it took from the Jews when they found out that God did not deal exclusively through their culture. Please let us take the time to begin to hear, listen to one another, pray and speak to others of how Charleston might be a stepping stone not to war but to shalom.