“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (II Corinthians 1:3-4, KJV)
My prayers and condolences go out to the congregation, families, and friends impacted by the shooting which took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine people including the pastor lost their lives as a result of this shooting. Although the suspect in the killings, Dylann Roof, has been apprehended, the pain of this shooting is felt throughout the Universal Church.
I would encourage all to pray not only for the victims love ones and congregation but to pray for the suspect. We, being the Church, must forgive his actions. Though we grieve, we must also forgive. This is not to say that he should not suffer the consequences for his actions. Regardless to his motives for performing this slaying, redemption is still available to him. Before becoming an Apostle Saul murdered hundreds of Christians until he reached the road of Damascus. He was given a new name, Paul, and would be the writer of fourteen out of twenty-seven books in the Bible.
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is historical for their work in civil rights and being active in their community. The “Charleston Nine” are now martyrs of the faith. They spent their final hour studying the Scriptures, praying, and worshipping God not knowing that this would be their last opportunity to do so. For them, death has no sting and the grave has no victory. (1 Corinthians 15:54-56) They have ran their race and kept the faith. The names and ages of the “Charleston Nine” are listed below.
Cynthia Herd (54)
Suzy Jackson (87)
Ethel Lee Lance (70)
Reverend Doctor Depayne Middleton (49)
Pastor Clementa Pinckney(41)
Tywanza Sanders (26)
Reverend Doctor Daniel L. Simmons, Senior (74)
Reverend. Sharonda Singleton (45)
Myra Thompson (59)
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, KJV)