Statement on Emanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina

Quote from Pr. Petersen’s sermon on Trinity 3:

“Through Christ, God has given us in our brothers and sisters from Emanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina an example of Christian charity in its purest.  A white man, filled with hate, desiring to start a war, went to them, and not to meeting of the Nation of Islam or the NAACP or even a school board meeting, but to the Church. He went there because he saw the weakness of Christianity: no matter how hateful he was, no matter what he thought of them, he expected, rightly, that they would welcome and love him. He was right. They did. They welcomed him, they accepted him, and they even rejoiced in his presence and their opportunity to be share the love of Christ and potentially become his brothers and sisters. He exploited that charity and welcome. He went there specifically to abuse that love. My heart breaks for the families of his victims. I wish they hadn’t died. But I thank God that they had that weakness to exploit, that they loved him who hated them, that they welcomed and accepted him in their midst. God be praised and bless them for that!

“We might be entering into a new era of martyrdom. Persecution seems inevitable, but grace is constant. The Lord calls us to rejoice, to welcome our enemies, to forgive those that harm us. I don’t know what the immediate future holds, but I know the end. I know that all things works together for good to those who love God and that martyrdom, as painful as it as, as long as the years will be for the survivors, that martyrdom is a glorious gift. It is a gift that God uses  to bring His children to Himself, but it is also a gift that God uses to teach us who are left behind that there are things more important than living and that joy that transcends sadness and mourning.

“The saints in Charleston deserve our prayers and our thanks. May God, in His mercy, gives us all a measure of that same Spirit that He bestowed on them, that we too might face these ugly times and dangerous days with joy and fidelity. We were lost. We are found. We were dead and now even if we die, we live, and the time will come when we shall embrace the martyrs from Charleston in our arms and every tear is wiped away.”

Listen to the entire sermon here.