This morning I read the letter from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and it flat took my breath away. The 21-year-old shooter was an ELCA member. Two of the nine shot and killed by him were graduates of our Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary.
In the prejudice for color of skin one of our own killed nine of our own. In evil lies about “all of them”, a 21-year-old Lutheran shot and killed two graduates of our very own seminary.
We sing, “Red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
We are joined to Emmanuel AME congregation as we have been all along in the eyes of our Lord. Up to now we didn’t even know it.
I ask every one of us to pray for these nine sisters and brothers of ours. I ask that we pray for their families as one of us who have violently lost those most precious to them….. by one of us.
I ask for a long moment of silence in our prayers of the church this Sunday for us to contemplate that this young man is from our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Then let us pray for him and his family.
I recall Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words that we teach our children and ourselves to recognize another by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.
Sisters and brothers, we have work to do within our church.
The All-Inclusive Outreach Team of the VA Synod has provided a resource that includes suggestions of how to talk about the events in Charleston during our worship services.
With so much sadness I will lift all of you up in my prayers.
(The Rev. James F. Mauney, Bishop VA Synod)