Shooting Victims…and where Jesus Shows Up

  S (Scripture): Exodus 14:15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 14:16 And as for you, lift up your staff and extend your hand toward the sea and divide it, so that the Israelites may go through the middle of the sea on dry ground.”

O (Observation):  In the midst of Israel’s most significant tragedy, God steps up, yet again, to redeem God’s people…against all odds.  

A (Application):  I’m attending a middle school event for our ELCA churches in the Nashville area.   We are having a great time exploring God’s redemption, turning our scared times into sacred times.  

As God’s people walked across dry ground, through the Red Sea, they experienced what can only be described as a miracle.  With difficulties and death on their doorstep, God delivers!

And now, as I still lament the loss of a seminary classmate and the other 8 shooting victims from Mother Emmanuel AME in Charleston, SC, and anger still runs through my veins…a miracle has happened.   The miracle is NOT that the shooter was caught, though he will receive a form of earthly justice.   The miracle is this: the victims’ family and friends have ALREADY proclaimed forgiveness and mercy to Dylann Roof, the alleged shooter. 

Want proof?  Here it is:   Dylann Roof Bond Hearing FULL VIDEO: Victims Address Charleston Shooter in Court

I just watched this video with tears rolling down my cheeks.  I’m still teary-eyed…because I can see Jesus here.   (Thanks to my friend Jeff L for pointing this video out to me.  I knew it existed but hadn’t viewed it yet.)

What’s another miracle here?  Perhaps, again, as my friend Jeff has pointed out…perhaps we have avoided another riot???  

Yes, we are dealing with racism and mental illness….but we are also dealing with Jesus Christ!!!   Or better put, Jesus Christ is dealing with us in the way that only Christ can: through being in solidarity with us, through suffering with and for us, through dealing with our difficult realities, and through resurrection…bringing light into the midst of the dark.   Jesus Christ is the source of light in these dark times.  Jesus Christ has inspired these words of forgiveness, grace, and love.  

Love wins, not hate.   Mercy, not justice.  Just ask the friends and family of the ones who lost their loved ones in Charleston last week.  

P (Prayer):  Lord, you know our deepest thoughts and feelings.   Helps us, as we grieve, to see your presence here on this earth.  Help us to see that our hope rests in you, not in violence or hatred…but solely in you, the One who overcomes the power of sin and death.  Amen. 

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