Sunday’s tragedy at First Baptist Sutherland Springs is heartbreaking and incomprehensible. These shootings feel incredibly personal. I bet they do for you, too.
A Sunday morning worship service in a Baptist church in Texas -- how many times have I experienced this same scenario? For Sutherland Springs Baptist Church, this ordinary time turned into a horrifying scene.
If you are like me, you have questions about how to respond.
What do I say in the face of such a tragedy?
How do I respond to something so devastating?
Should I be afraid attending my church or living my life?
How can I help?
A few thoughts for this moment:
The crisis occurred on Sunday. It’s fresh. This is a time of shock for everyone involved. It is going to take time for community members -- locally and globally -- to make sense of such tragic loss. The story will continue to unravel and the families will face all of the implications of the deaths and injuries -- physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Together, we have the opportunity to stay present with those impacted through our offerings of prayer, friendship, and attentiveness. The recovery process will take years. Let’s commit to continuing to pray and stay present for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Lean into mourning.
The mass shooting was nothing less than a tragedy. Grief is uncomfortable, especially in a culture that glorifies youth and life. It is tempting to quickly cover emotions or come up with answers. Instead, gather your community, hold prayer vigils, give someone a hug, and mourn together.
If you know someone directly impacted by the event, let them lead the mourning process. There is no right or wrong way to grieve; everyone has their own process.
Be quick to listen and support. Be slow to speak and give quick answers. Avoid all explanations of “why” this happened when with a friend impacted.
As Christ followers, we know we have a hope greater than this world, but we do not have all the answers. Giving quick answers and responses to our friends who are suffering can cause more pain and hurt. Instead, we have the opportunity to offer the ministry of presence and prayer.
If you feel compelled, consider financially assisting FBC Sutherland Springs. All the money will help the church in the restoration process.
Mail a check to the BGCT and be sure to denote FBC Sutherland Springs - Church Tragedy.
Please note on the check:
13635 FBC Sutherland Springs - Church Tragedy
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NRSV) states,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ.”
As we lean into the next few days, weeks, months, years, let’s continue to seek Christ and console our brothers and sisters. Today, we grieve.