SHOWING THE LOVE OF CHRIST IN A CARE-LESS WORLD
Over this past weekend a gunman opened fire at Club Q in Colorado Springs less than a mile from our church, Vanguard Church, a Southern Baptist Church, that has been in existence in the heart of Colorado Springs for the past 25 ½ years.
Club Q was hosting a transgender night when the gunfire occurred.
Just two blocks away and nine hours later our church hosted its regular Sunday morning worship services.
During the 9am service we had people in our church who were not present for the service, but attending online, let us know that they had friends in that club who were wounded and hurt by this gunman.
What does a church do in this situation? Do we stand up against the things that occurred at this Club and let our congregation and online community know that we don’t approve and that the Bible explicitly stands against these matters of morality? Or do we ignore the broken hearts surrounded by this event in our community?
Maybe there is a third option.
Christ commands His church to “Grieve with those who grieve.” (Romans 12:15)
I don’t know what it is like to lose a love one like this, but I do know what it is like to lose a love one instantly at the hands of a drunk driver.
I know what it feels like to talk to your loved one and then hours later realize they are gone.
In the sensitive moments soon after a tragedy, it is important we remember as churches we exist to live out the mission of Jesus to seek and save that which is lost. The best way to do so is to relate to humanity through the universal language we can all relate to, pain.
I have never met anyone who doesn’t have pain in their lives. And by the way, that will remain true for all of us throughout our lives whether we come to Christ or not.
If we begin with the universal language of pain, we will find the right balance between love and truth.
When tragedy strikes a community the question of “why this occurred” is not the most important factor for the church to mobilize around. This question usually takes a long time to unravel and by the time it does the moment has passed. It is important that when a tragedy strikes a community, we immediately ask the question, “How can we care?”
We live in a care-less world.
We watch the news, decipher the details, draw a conclusion, and make a judgment. And rarely is it accurate. It is the same thing the world does to the church. But we, the church, should be different. We should be slow to speak and quick to care.
Now sometimes we don’t know how to care and that’s fair and maybe the answer to that question takes a lot of time, but eventually we will through relationship have opportunity to show the love of Jesus Christ and His desire to show care to them through us.
When tragedy strikes in your community and around your church, mobilize your people to pray.
Challenge them to suspend the dialogue in their head and refuse to pass premature judgment on the matter so that the grace and compassion of Christ can manifest itself in and through your community of believers in Jesus.
For us, we prayed.
We took time in each of our services to acknowledge what had occurred and the proximity by which it occurred. We invited our congregation in unity and unison to join in a cooperative time of prayer extending their hands toward one another. We ask the Lord to show comfort on the brokenhearted and all who were impacted by this sorrowful situation.
Christ commands us to grieve with those who grieve, not just those who agree with us, but with all the world. He is the Suffering Servant. He is the Savior of all humanity. The Bible says that God is near the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18.)
I realize that soon enough politics and the press will be involved in the process and depending on their bent, it will go one direction or another, but as churches, can we seize the moment to be not about politics or the press, but about prayer? Can we offer up prayers for those who are hurting and if the opportunity presents itself, may we step into the process through relationships and care for those who have been broken by the care-less world we live in today.
Step forward in your church, now, and say, “I will care more for the brokenhearted in this care-less world we live in today.”
That’s what Jesus would do!