Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Monday, June 13, 2016

"I'm gonna die."

"I'm gonna die."

Eddie Justice was right.

Moments after he texted those words to his mother, Mina, he was shot to death, along with others who were trying to conceal themselves from the murderer inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning.

Mina is now mourning with scores of other mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, nieces, nephews, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, partners and friends who will never see their loved ones again.

Let's mourn with them.

If there is a lesson for the church in this horrific act of evil, it is the reminder that every human being walks on the same ground, on the very dust to which all of us will someday return. Every human being, regardless of sexual orientation, religion, culture or skin color has this one thing in common: "I'm gonna die."

May Eddie's final, horrible realization move us to walk as wise Christians who understand that each victim of this terrible crime was not a social issue, an argument to be won, or a vote to trump, but a human being with a soul. Too soon, 49 people, plus one murderer, met the same awful consequence of Adam's sin that even the most pious, scripture-knowing Evangelical among us will experience.

Pray that Eddie's final words will move us to look past particular sins and see human beings not unlike who we once were, when we were craving meaning and love and identity. "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked," Paul reminds us, lest we forget (Eph. 2:1).

A sovereign God has saved us so that at this moment in history, in these evil days, we would testify to the power of a sacrifice that defeated our sin, an empty tomb that proved death's ultimate end, and to grace-filled hope in which is found true purpose, a love far greater and truer than anyone could ever imagine, and real identity in Christ.

Eddie's last thoughts ought to move us to make "the best use of the time," because the days are, indeed, evil. His words help us to remember that our purpose on this planet is not to be in power, but to demonstrate the power of our holy God, by imitating him, by loving as He has loved us, and by living holy lives that prove His power to change us.

Eddie is gone now; we must not presume to know his standing before the Lord. But his last words compel us, if we love Christ, to give ourselves up at any cost for the sake of the gospel, and to urge the world to receive the same hope we have in us, that God, in the richness of His mercy through Christ, has made us alive forever!

Ephesians 5:15–16 (ESV)
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

A guest post by Pastor Scott Ferrell

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