As I was perusing my Facebook feed one of the ministers I know asked, what I believe, is an important question. He was wondering if any of his pastor friends would be saying/addressing the tragedy in Charleston in some way, if at all this coming up Sunday. This is an ongoing conversation so, there is not consensus yet, but it is worth noting that there is no right answer here. At least in my mind.
Each pastor and, by extension, each person who hears about and considers the events at the Emanuel AME Church will respond according to how the news affected them. The range of human emotions is as varied as the faces upon each persons head. The reality is that how we respond is the cumulative product of our experiences and our beliefs. If there is anything I have learned in life is how true this is.
The key to navigating the waters of life is having a means of charting your course. For sailors it was the stars. They learned to identify the formations above them and then correct their direction. The same is also true for us. When we are adrift and in search of our bearings we have to look up and set our minds on things above. We have to take our eyes off what is front of us and around us to catch our breath and regain our composure.
Tragedy has a way of throwing our lives off-kilter. The only way to regain our balance is to put our hands on something solid, something sure. For me that is the Word of God. The word of God is the anchor of truth I rely on when the storms begin to rage. Turning to the truth of who God is and what he has done in and through Jesus is what provides the ballast and stability required to weather the storm.
Tragedy has a way of bringing issues and problems into greater relief. We all have an opportunity to grow wiser, become more loving, and extend greater grace when we turn to God rather than our own wisdom. My prayer is that I do not miss the chance to increase my sensitivity to what God is saying about himself and his word. The promise we have is that every storm will pass. The question is this: Will we learn from the present one to better prepare and handle the next?