It was the smallest of deals, it was quite possibly the biggest of deals.

This morning i’d been asked to share a little about church at a house church meeting of a friend of mine – never met the group before and only knew the leader through a camp i spoke on last year for his youth.

But i’d also spent the last few days feeling very challenged by the tragic events in Charleston and using my social media avenues to share a number of powerful thoughts i had read and to challenge leaders of churches across Americaland to PLEASE give the incident some focus in their meetings.

As i prepared to lead a meeting of my own i thought it would be very hypocritical if i didn’t do the same and so in a middle to wealthy group of white home church goers i invited them to close their eyes while we took a few minutes to remember the people on this list of nine names. People who we hadn’t known personally, but as members of the body of Christ, their loss was our loss and the pain of their family members and friends needed to be our pain as well:

Cynthia Hurd [54]

Tywanza Sanders [26]

Sharonda Singleton [45]

Myra Thompson [59]

Ethel Lance [70]

Susie Jackson [87]

DePayne Doctor [49]

Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr [74]

Rev. Clementa Pinckney [41]

i read out the ages as well cos that felt strangely significant to me – i had read that it was a prayer meeting and it was no surprise to me that the majority of members there were older folks as around the world, they seem to be the ones to fill up our corporate times of prayer in the most faithful of ways.

We took a moment to remember the incident as an isolated moment of tragedy. Then we took a moment to remember the incident as just one in a much bigger question and ongoing story that feels like one of the most important things Americaland needs to be facing right now. We prayed that the white church leaders of Americaland would realise how important it was for them to be part of this mourning, conversation and journey, both now and into the future. That black voices won’t feel alone and isolated and abandoned once more, as if this is simply their thing they need to face.

We invited power and love and strength and grace and healing. We were still.

It was not a big deal. But it felt significant. It felt necessary. It felt important. And perhaps it was the biggest deal of every part of our gathering this morning.

Were you part of a group or gathering that gave Charleston any mention or focus today? i would LOVE to hear about it in the comments.


[For some helpful thoughts & pictures on Charleston from other people with wise voices, click here]