The entire nation was horrified this week as a deranged racist lunatic went to the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston South Carolina this week and opened fire, killing nine people, including Pastor Clementa Pinkney, as they sat in a bible study.
A bible study, in a church. Shouldn’t that be one of the few places in your life that you feel safe? Innocent people, no doubt doing something they have done on Wednesday evening for a long time. It is nearly impossible to wrap one’s mind around.
It is not a time for politics; it is not a time for lectures. There will be plenty of time for debate on race or gun control or whatever else people think needs debating. It is a time to remember and celebrate these nine people. By all accounts, they were not just Sunday morning Christians, they were 24/7 Christians.
For many people, even those of us who were not born at the time, it conjured up images of a church bombing in 1963 in Birmingham Alabama. Four little girls lost their lives. That was such an ugly time in our history, most people will readily admit to that. We all want to think that things like that just don’t happen anymore.
What stands out about this? Definitely first, the reaction of the good people of Charleston. Be it ingrained Southern hospitality and politeness, or just plain humanity, what was meant to pull them apart has only brought them together. There have been no riots. There has been no looting. There have been no death threats. Only love and solidarity for their community. Have the usual instigators and trouble makers who seem to show up on the scene been warned stay away or else? That would be nice. The citizens of Charleston have been nothing short of an amazing example.
Does it take unfathomable acts of evil such as this to make Americans of all stripes come to a screeching halt and examine, not each other, but ourselves? Should we take inventory of our own hearts and minds? Refreshing our proverbial page can only be a good thing.
Can we make certain that these nine people did not give their lives in vain? What does that mean? Well, there may be a lot of definitions to that. While we reflect on a Sunday morning on all that has happened this week, and even though we may not have known any of the victims personally, we feel like we do now. How would they like us to proceed from here? With hatred in our hearts and thoughts of revenge? Doubtful. This Blogger can only speculate, but I am guessing that Reverend Pinkney, a man of God who invited a total stranger into his church to worship right alongside of him, and the others would be the first ones, just as their family members did, to forgive the stranger. They would want us to come together as Americans, and as human beings, and just love one another.