I wonder if they felt fear, those gathered there for Wednesday night Bible study at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina? I wonder if they felt fear when they realized that the young man who had sat with them in the basement of their beloved church for approximately one hour, had determined to take their lives, based on his belief that “They” needed to be stopped And it was his mission to do so.
Some would survive but 8 would die there and the 9th at a hospital. Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45 year old mother of 3, and high school track coach. Their senior pastor, Reverend Clementa Pnckeny, 41 year old husband and father and state senator. Ms. Cynthia Hurd, 54 year old librarian who had worked at the public library for 31 years and would have been 55 this coming Sunday. Mr. Tywanza Sanders, 26 year old recent graduate of Allen University who died trying to save his aunt Mrs. Susie Jackson, 87 years old. Miss Susie’s cousin, Ms. Ethel Lee Lance, 70 years old, would also die there.
Mrs. Myra Thompson, 59, wife of Reverend Anthony Thompson, a vicar. Reverend Daniel L. Simmons, 74, a member of the ministerial staff at Ebenezer and a war veteran.
I wonder if they felt fear in the face of death or a surprising peace. I will never know but for the first time I faced the possibility that I too could be gathered in my home church during a Sunday morning service, or in the chapel on a Friday night, and come face to face with death. In the midst of the grief and sorrow, I turn to You the God of all comfort and pray for those who are the loved ones to those who are now forever with You.
Also, I remind myself that You have not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. And, if I trust You, I can say with the psalmist David, “Yea through I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and staff, they comfort me.”
Joining Kate Motaung and a group of courageous writers for Five Minute Friday. The prompt is “Fear.” To learn more about Five Minute Friday (and perhaps join us?) click here.