I don’t know how to start, but I know what the gist needs to be: that church buildings aren’t perfect but they are holy ground and the nucleus of holy work. This morning we bleed for the people of the latest church shooting. You assumed you were safe, walking through the Texas morning heat into a building you’ve likely walked into hundreds of times before. Waving to loves and thinking about what you’re going to bring to next week’s potluck and how the carpet really needs replacing in the foyer. This is God’s sanctuary and therefor, yours. You get that God is everywhere and that there is nothing in the brick and mortar that makes this building different from a bank or a gas station, but you also know that what happens here is holy. That when God’s people, who are called by God’s name, gather and raise voices and hands, it is holy. They call church a sanctuary and this morning yours was shattered and we bleed with you. But we link arms too and we say that even though this terrible, unconscionable thing has happened to you, to the Church, it will not stop us walking through the doors. Not this week, not next, not ever. Because our God bids us continue to be the Church even when we are being gunned down. What happens within those four walls happens even more so outside them and evil is powerless against it. Because the God we serve inside and outside church has promised that he stands on the chaos, that evil is under his foot and that at the name of Jesus every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow. That there is coming a day in which this awful world, with its suffering and shootings will be redeemed and will become a new earth. And it’s not here today, even though we wish to heck it were because then this terrible thing would not have happened to you, but it’s certainty is something you can take to the bank. Jesus is coming. And so we wait with groaning made even louder today as we read headlines and wonder when people will stop killing people in the name of hatred. Because hatred is not the name we proclaim. Instead, we proclaim Jesus who has all authority and all power and who will prevail. So we will come and make casseroles and host funeral lunches and weep with you; the Church will stand with you as you grieve this horrible thing. And we will say to evil that you can burn us out, shoot us out, drive us out, but we will never stop. Because the Church is the people, led by the King and serving the World and you are nothing against that. We cannot not make terror stop. They won’t stop. But we won’t either. And we serve one who stands on terror and will crush it beneath his heel, squelching it once and for all. So we rise with Him and with you as you shore up your hearts, Texas, and continue the work you’ve already been called to do. We stand and we pray and we believe. Jesus wins. Always.
this is me being real.