After Emanuel AME Church Murders: Sanctuaries as safe places

HT_SCSUSPECT_150618_DG_16x9_992Where can we go and be safe?  Safe from hatred and prejudice, from oppressive ideologies and violence?  Is the cross of Christ not a white flag, a symbol of ultimate sacrifice and a place of surrender?  Does it not remind us that the war for our souls is over and won, that we have the victory in Christ (First Corinthians 15.57)?

If the answer to the last question is yes and I believe it is, then why didn’t Dylann Roof see it as such?  Why did the Scriptures described as a double- edged sword not pierce his heart with conviction (Hebrews 4.12)?  He came to a Bible study, was warmly welcomed and accepted by those he would accuse of “raping our women” and “taking over our country.”

And what do we do when persons do not view us as new creatures in Christ, but kill us because of the historical social coloring of skin (Second Corinthians 5.17)?  If our Bibles don’t protect us from bullets, if bowed heads are viewed as better targets, then what are we to make of our faith and its practice?  Like so many others, I am left with nothing but questions after the disturbing murder of nine souls at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina last Wednesday.  The name of the church is a reminder that God is with us and yet, when someone can enter a church and take faithful lives in an effort to start a “race war,” it causes me to question, to doubt if God is… with us.

 

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