Like Jude, whose book is the basis for our Sunday morning messages this month, I was going to write one letter today, but I need to write another first (Jude 3). So I write today about Sunday’s tragedy at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where a gunman opened fire during the morning service, killing many (at least 26) and wounding more.
I agree with Thom Rainer from LifeWay, who said in his blog: “I will identify with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas.” We are the Body of Christ, and whatever happens to one part of the body affects every other part. As Paul puts it, “if one part [of the body] suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). So it is right and fitting that we suffer with those who lost so many of those they loved, and honor those who have gone on to be with Jesus forever. If we did not have that hope, we would be overwhelmed by the darkness of this despicable act. But we do have that hope, so we can stand firm on it (1 Corinthians 15:12ff).
Despite what some in our society think—especially celebrities who think their every revolting thought much be shared instantly with the world through social media—prayer matters, because it matters to God. At our church we have begun a Congregational Prayer Initiative to actually pray as though it matters. This week, we add First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas to our prayer emphases. It is not all we can do, but it is the best thing we can do. And so we join them in prayer: to suffer, to honor.