About a month ago a man was gunned down and killed at his church just before the service began that Sunday morning… it was all over the news because he was a Dr. in Wichita, KS who was most known for being one of only a handful of people in the United States who would perform late-term abortions. The pastor of that church and his family are very dear friends of my wife and me. They are amazing, faithful people… so you can imagine how difficult it has been to hear of their pain in being so closely connected to something like this… not to mention that since it happened our friend, himself has received death threats and countless amounts of hate mail… people pointing fingers and calling him names and condemning him… all because he was the pastor of the man who was killed… Most of the hate mail comes in the form of "loving reprimand"… people "lovingly" instructing him as to what he should have done (IE: expel this Dr. and his family from the church), or there are also those who have said things like, "his blood is on your hands." Now, in the midst of all this turmoil and judgement and hate, our friends now face the challenge of helping the people of that church rebuild and heal from the horror of witnessing such an event, as well as the pain for some of losing a father a husband and a friend. This past week I had the opportunity to travel to Wichita to be with our friends and to share a concert with the church. It was difficult to know what to do our say. What does one say in the face of something like this. I was just a stranger with a guitar with 100 faces staring back at me. As the concert began, all I could think was , "what am I doing here? What could I possibly do or say that could be of any significance to these people who are hurting so deeply?" All I had standing in front of that crowd of people was the truth that God’s grace is sufficient for me and for them and for everyone… so I simply shared that the best I know how. After the concert an elderly woman came up to me, she put her hand on my shoulder and looked at me in the way only someone with her years of wisdom and experience can and she said, “This was a very healing time for me.” and several others made similar comments.
I didn't do anything remarkable. I didn't play particularly well, or even express my thoughts as clearly as I would have hoped to… but I think what may have contributed to the "healing" of that evening was that in an environment that has been devastated by judgement (often "in the name of God") in some small way I was able to represent the hope that is made possible only by God's grace. I pray that healing will come to all those who have been so deeply affected by the events of that day.