Mourning in response to the Emanuel A.M.E. Church Shooting
From the MenPray blog (07/18/2015):
Everywhere we turn and almost every second of the day, death, tragedy and hatred are all thrown in our faces. It seems as if we have been praying and bringing awareness about violence, injustice and crime for way too long without seeing any different circumstances. Even in that pain and frustration those who believe and are led by Christ feel that there is hope… and that hope seems even more real in the gathering of the saints. Yet, we can turn to the news today and see that even in our places of worship we can be subject to the carnality and viciousness of man’s expression of emotion through violence.
We know that there will be many who will write about the Historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston shooting and those who met death during the tragic event; we don’t seek to explain the evil that took place but rather cultivate a posture of healthy response to it. If you are willing, please join us in taking the following steps in responding to the Historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston killings.
Four Biblical ways to deal with the Emanuel A.M.E. Church Shooting...
1. Log off for a while:
The internet is full of information and not all of it is true. Social media is full of information as well, and much of it isn’t accurate. Way before we have conversations about responsive actions, racial tension issues or the attack on the Christian faith... we should open ourselves up for reflection. Although it is easy to jump onto Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share our opinions, take a moment to log off and remove yourself from the confusion so that you can dedicate yourself to God, his truth and mourning.
2. Mourn with sincerity:
We often seek to memorialize those who have lost their lives before we truly mourn. As Christians, we should position ourselves to mourn with those who have lost first and take the proper time for that to happen. There is a period of time that is appropriate for mourning in the scriptures and we should do it with passion. When we memorialize before we mourn, we tend to speak out of anger, frustration and other emotions. These emotions are exactly what the mourning period is for. Express your sincere grief in your home with family, with your local congregation or with those affected if possible. You may even be moved by the Holy Spirit to send gifts or condolences. Do as the Spirit leads but not out of selfish ambition, need for recognition or exposure.(Church information for giving is below) A social media memorial is just… a memorial for people across the world to like, reply or respond to… but it’s not true mourning.
Here is an awesome article on mourning:http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/05/29/christian-death-mourn-or-celebrate/
3. Call your pastor or spiritual leader:
This is not a biblical mandate but one that is based off of the love that all believers are to have for each other. All of us undoubtedly have emotions running and questions bouncing around in our heads.
“How could God allow this to happen?”
“Who would do such a things?”
The bitter truth about having those questions is that many times, spiritual leaders have the same questions. Judges 6:13 shows us Gideon asking God “If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” If Gideon had questions, we know that your pastors may have them too. The purpose in calling them during times of mourning isn’t to bombard them with questions, but to mourn with them. Especially in this situation. Many pastors will feel fear and frustration with this particular incident because it hits home. “Will God not keep us safe in the place where we worship Him?” (The question many clergyman have but will not express). Supporting your pastor in this time is essential. Let them know that you support them and mourn with them in times such as these.
4. Pray harder… Open your Bible and Eagerly Seek Truth:
As much as we have tried to ignore some of the unsympathetic posts that have already started circulating around the web (reminder to heed to step 1) we know that this is a time where evil will grab many(Matthew 24:12). It is in times of mourning that emotion can turn from sorrow… to bitterness… to frustration and then to hate. When we get to that point, we are subject to the same judgement as those who have acted out their hate through murder (Matthew 5:21-22). So although we say so many times in situations of hatred, murder and injustice that we are praying… we should stay in prayer continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This implies a posture of prayer that is faithful, hopeful and persistent … not just one that is frequent.
Although you may not have all of the answers right now, God does. Psalm 139 is a great expression of an all-knowing God who has a perfect will and is completely just. Well… I am sure that sparks even more questions but instead of us voicing our ignorance that is masked as inquisitiveness… let us first open our Bibles, pray for wisdom and seek truth. (John 14:14-17, Proverbs 30:5, John 17:17)
Here is a link with prayers of mourning :http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Faith-Tools/Meditation/2006/01/Prayers-For-Those-Who-Mourn.aspx
Remember brothers and sisters, when Paul wrote “Mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15) he did so while describing a body of believers who were to live in harmony with each other and all of the world. He also added “Don’t repay evil with evil” (v.17), “live at peace” (v.18) and “Do not seek revenge” (v.19). Faith in Him and openness to the Holy Spirit allows us to rest in the fact that vengeance is the Lord’s (Deuteronomy 32:35).
Let us mourn with our brothers and sisters at the Historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston South Carolina. Let us pray for understanding of His Will and the faith to cherish His truth.
If you would like to contact the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church to express your grievances or aid in their time of mourning, please visit: http://www.emanuelamechurch.org/