In response to the Charleston shooting, singer and songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman has released a video and song "Charleston." On the evening of June 17, 2015, a mass shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston. The church is one of the United States' oldest black churches and has long been a site for community organization around civil rights. Nine people were killed, including the senior pastor and state senator, Clementa C. Pinckney. A tenth person was shot and survived.
Police arrested a white male, later identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, the morning after the attack in Shelby, North Carolina. The United States Department of Justice is investigating the possibility that the shooting was a hate crime or an act of domestic terrorism, among other scenarios. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers it a hate crime, but not an act of terrorism. Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder by the State of South Carolina.
It's with a very heavy heart that I come to you with this post. As I have prayed for and grieved with the people of Charleston SC there's one part of this terrible and tragic story in particular that continues to stir me. It's the fact that Rev. Pinckney and the other believers gathered at Emanuel AME Church to worship, pray and study God's Word opened their hearts & made room in their "circle" for a stranger...unknowingly but willingly inviting in the very one who would take the lives of many in their circle. They chose to love...and Love never fails...Love always has the last word! As I read Romans 12:18-21 I'm struck with how profound those words are in this situation. Ultimately evil has been and will forever be overcome with good...and there is no more powerful "good" than the love of God! As we continue to pray for comfort and peace to fill the hearts of all affected by this terrible tragedy may we be inspired by the love and the lives of Rev Pinckney and the others in that circle...& may we remember that the story is far from over. Love cannot and will not fail!
With that thought I wrote this song for the people of Charleston...and to remind all of us...Love conquers all!
With a heavy but hopeful heart,