This summer Charleston, S.C., has been in the news because of the racially motivated massacre of nine African-Americans attending a Bible study and prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. A young, white man entered the house of worship and, after an hour, pulled out a gun and began his murderous rampage.
Editorial by Rick Remmers, Chesapeake Conference president
Words seem to fail in describing and condemning the horror of such racist and violent actions. While news outlets have covered many aspects of this disturbing story, there is a perspective from the Bible that needs to be considered.
The first angel’s message reads, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the Earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Rev. 14:6).
We cannot miss the global appeal being given. Every race, culture and language is included. There is no people group excluded from the grace and call of God. If we are going to be followers of Jesus, we need to take this appeal seriously. But, it can only happen when we have experienced, accepted and internalized the everlasting gospel for ourselves. This was a message given at a time when society was deeply divided over politics, economic opportunity, ethnic groups and religions. Actually, it was a lot like today.
The power of the gospel, however, is able to transform our hearts and bring together people of different races and backgrounds. When that is our experience, our congregations will be a joyful place of acceptance and fellowship for all people. Let’s begin to experience this bit of heaven here on Earth.