The views expressed in this piece and all other writings are my views and mine alone. I have been privileged to serve for the last 11 years as a Pastor in the A.M.E. Church and while I preach every Sunday in an A.M.E. Church, I do not and will never claim to speak FOR the A.M.E. Church.
It's no secret that I go to bed extremely early. I dozed off well before 9:00 tonight and my spouse woke me up at around 10:30 with the news of this tragedy that has consumed and engulfed us all. The church is in mourning. We are sad, we are confused, we are hurting, we are suffering and we are devastated. I haven't cried yet- not really- had a half moment here and a semi-moment there but I haven't cried yet. I was about to cry, really wanted to cry but then I felt this in my spirit...
The best place to have a heart attack is in the Emergency Room.
The best place to have a flat tire is in front of Firestone.
The best place to have a hunger pang is in front of a full refrigerator.
If death is a door that we all must walk through.
If we are all living this life just to live again.
If none of us make it out of life alive.
If to live is Christ and to die is gain...
The best place to leave this world is in God's house, around God's people in the midst of doing God's work.
What better trip can we take?
What smoother transition can we make?
Is this not leaving God's house only to enter into God's hands?
We are not unsafe in the church- we are not at war in the church- we are not under siege in the church because someone brought a gun into the church and used a gun inside of the church. God's word is true and is steadfast and is unmovable and is always abounding inside of us- let me remind those who are nervous, fearful and afraid of Matthew 16:18:
"...Upon this rock, I will build my church
And the gates of hell
Shall not prevail against it..."
My dear friend and colleague in ministry would put it this way- these are his words- "God didn't say that hell wouldn't come, God just said that hell wouldn't win."
You are safe, secure and protected in the arms of God and in the house of God. The devil will run out of bullets before God runs out of angels.
God's Best be With You Always,
Rev. Sterling J. Dowling