Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, Southeastern District President Rev. Dr. John R. Denninger and an LCMS pastor in Charleston, S.C., called for prayers after the June 17 killings of nine people in that city at a prayer service.
Accused killer Dylann Root, 21, has been charged with nine counts of murder in connection with the shootings at Charleston’s historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church.
“Another brutal and senseless killing spree by a crazed gunman, motivated by racial hatred, sends our thoughts swirling between hatred and despair,” Harrison wrote in a June 19 emailed message to the Synod.
Harrison noted the biblical reminder that “there is an ‘evil one’ who bedevils the minds of such killers.”
“As both religion and morality are on steep decline among us,” Harrison’s message continued, “we can only expect more of this insanity by individuals unhinged from the safety of families and a society normed by natural law and influenced by the genuine teaching of the Bible.”
“Racism is a fundamental denial of the Word of God and natural law,” Harrison stated. … “It also contradicts the universality of the truth of the Gospel of Christ, who died for all.”
“We mourn the loss of these dear Christians and pray for their loved ones,” Harrison wrote. “May they be consoled by ‘the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.’ ”
Denninger, whose district includes Charleston, started his emailed “Prayers for Charleston” message asking, “How can someone sit in a prayer meeting for an hour and then begin shooting? While we can’t begin to verbalize an answer, we know that this is a real situation and it happened.”
Denninger wrote that the Rev. Edward J. “Ed” Grant, pastor of Charleston’s Calvary Lutheran Church, reported there had been two prayer services in Charleston. One on June 12 gathered more than 3,000 people “for a prayer vigil for the city, her families and workers.” The other — on the morning after the shootings — was “led by leaders of congregations throughout the city to pray for mercy and understanding in the midst of such horrific tragedy.”
When asked, “ ‘What can we do?,’ ” Denninger wrote, Grant responded with “ ‘pray.’ ”
“And so,” Denninger advised in his message to the district, “we call you to prayer.”
Denninger suggested that prayers be lifted “for consolation and comfort” for those mourning the killings, “seeking healing for a city … in shock,” for all “in positions of leadership and authority,” for the members of Emanuel A.M.E. Church, and to call “upon Jesus, who is already present in these moments, to bring peace and reconciliation.”
Posted June 23, 2015 / Updated July 11, 2015