Beloved in Jesus, the Prince of Peace;
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.Amen
We reach out in loving concern to the people of Charleston, South Carolina, and especially the members and friends of the individuals who were slain while attending a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last night. We not only honor the life of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney who lost his life shepherding his flock, but we also honor those who were gathered in prayer and reflection. Houses of worship must be safe havens for all who are in distress and seeking God. When any sacred space is violated, all faith communities are diminished.
Although when such a senseless act of violence occurs, we are filled with many emotions, but we cannot respond to a hate crime with more hate. One Charleston resident is reported to have said, “We must love our way through this.” We concur.
Let our response go beyond our expression of empathy and grief. Let us recommit ourselves to the hard work of racial reconciliation and building communities of safety and love. As our Presbyterian colleagues have stated, “Arresting the shooter is the job of law enforcement. Arresting hate is the work we are all called to do.”