An Open Letter to My Church Family
To Every Member of My Church Family:
I urge you to see the recent events in South Carolina for what it is and not what politicians serving an agenda are making it out to be. This is not a gun problem. This is a tragedy.
To make the massacre in South Carolina about gun control is to disrespect the lives that were lost. The believers there were not congregating to discuss politics and it is disgraceful for the media to do so now. They were there to pray to the one and only mighty God. They were there to lay down the burdens of this life at His feet. Instead, they rest there in His presence. This is not the time to call for stricter policies and tighter laws. This is the time to mourn the beating hearts that stopped and to pray for the grieving families they left behind.
We must be brave and chose to feel this, not analyze the what if’s and how it happened. Today, the victims’ families have no choice but to feel it. We cannot let them feel it alone. It is all too often that lives are lost as a result of senseless acts of violence. Society is becoming numb. Victims are just part of a new story to everyone but the families. We cannot let that happen with this. They were our brothers and our sisters in Christ. We must do what we can to bring attention to the One they died serving. Changing a law will not bring back the lives that were lost, but by acknowledging the testimony of our brothers and our sisters we continue to carry the torch they set aflame at that prayer meeting.
I almost allowed my heart not to feel. I don’t know a single person in South Carolina. My life is going on today as if nothing has happened. My son is safe and my husband is secure. I saw the headline this morning, but chose not to read. God told me to. He told me to get to know who the victims were. Here are their names and what I know about them:
Cynthia Hurd, 54, a manager with the Charleston County Public Library system.
Ethel Lance, 70, a retiree who recently worked as a church janitor
Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41, a South Carolina state senator and pastor at the church
Susie Jackson, 87, a longtime member of the church
Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49, former Charleston County community development director
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, a church pastor, speech therapist and a high school girls’ track coach
Myra Thompson, 59, a pastor at the church
Rev. Daniel Simmons, Sr., 74, another pastor at the church
Tywanza Sanders, 26, a 2014 graduate of Allen University, where Pinckney was also an alum
I read this and tears filled my eyes. Mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons lost their lives. How many baptisms did Susie Jackson get to see? How many children did she watch grow up in her church? How many children did Sharonda coach? How many did she help learn to talk with confidence? How many times did Ethel vacuum the pews in her church? How many people did she witness to? What were Tywanza’s plans for the life she had yet to live? She was only three years younger than me.
I want to remember these names. I want to honor their memory. These were my sisters and my brothers and I want to mourn them as such, not as simply a name in a news story.
We, as the body of Christ, cannot ignore this. We must rise to meet the days we live in. We must carry the banner of Christ with more fervor, with more passion, with more fire. Especially, with more prayer, beginning with prayers for our blood bought family mourning just a few states away.
Let us love and be loved by our God.