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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
June 20, 2015

Even if you have to die, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life for your prize.
Revelation 2:10b (New Jerusalem Bible*)

[NOTE: I am departing from my normal practice of using a selection from the lectionary for the next day, and instead chose a scripture which spoke to what I felt led to write.]

It is great when we hear stories of people intent on doing harm who are treated lovingly by faithful Christians, and as a result do not carry out their intent. We should praise God when this happens, but we also need to recognize that there won't always be such happy endings to our faithfulness. We need to trust that our faithfulness is not in vain even when a calamity was not prevented. Despite outward appearances, faithfulness is always worth it.

When Dylann Roof walked into Emanuel AME Church, he was intending to kill people, not for anything they did but simply because they were black. The good folks at the Bible study into which he walked did not look upon this young white man they didn't know coming into their black church as someone other against whom they should guard themselves. They treated him as someone made in the image of God who was to be welcomed into the house of the Lord. They were so nice to him that he wavered for an hour about carrying out his intention. But in the end, he went ahead and nine innocent people were killed.

I believe that that these good people acted faithfully, and their faithfulness will serve the cause of Christ despite what happened to them this week. And I am moved as the faithfulness of that community continued as the relatives and friends of those murdered spoke in court to that young man, and offered their forgiveness. They insisted on responding to hate with love, and that is how we are called by Christ.

It is important that we recognize and honor faithfulness, regardless of the near-term results. Not only do we need to grieve with this hurting community, but we need to resolve to learn from their lesson of faithfulness and stand with them in working to end the cancer of racism in our society.

Bill Samuel

* The New Jerusalem Bible ©1985 by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd and Les Editions du Cerf.

©2015 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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