Suffering and Hope in Nashville

Dear Christ Church family,

The Nashville community is in tears, but they do not weep alone.

We join in their sorrow over the senseless and wicked murders of six precious lives at The Covenant School, a K-6th grade elementary school under the oversight of Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA). You’ve probably heard by now that three of the victims were faculty and staff; and the other three were nine year old children, one of which was the senior minister’s daughter, Hallie Scruggs. This news, in particular, hits close to home; and has been hard for Marla and me to bear. Please join us in praying for all of these dear families who lost loved ones yesterday.

Covenant PCA was an early and generous supporter of Christ Church Charleston in our mission/church plant years (2013-2016). I have very fond memories of teaching an adult Sunday school class and preaching God’s Word for this beloved congregation in 2014. It’s hard to imagine the terror of yesterday’s events on their campus. “How Long, O LORD? (Ps. 12:1a)

What do we do now?

The book of Ecclesiastes teaches us that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (3:1). Right now is not the time for politics. It is not the time to discuss gun control or the mental stability of the trans community. There is a time and a season for those discussions.

But that time is not now.

Now is a “time to weep … [and] a time to mourn” (3:4). It’s a time to stand with our brothers and sisters at Covenant Presbyerian Church in Nashville, and to humbly intercede for them in prayer. It’s a time to remember that amidst the thorns and thistles of this groaning creation, and the unspeakable wickedness that often prevails in this present evil age, there is an unshakable hope in Christ.

Because of sin, things are so wrong, confused, and twisted in this world. We all know it, and feel it, deeply. Especially now. But one day, when Christ returns, He will make all things new. He will make all things right again. Therefore, we grieve, but not as those without the sure and certain hope of the resurrection. And on that glorious day, God Himself will “wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Rev. 21:4).

Dear Christian, let not your heart sink into fear and despair over the terrible events in Nashville. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Yes, keep your eyes on Him— the crucified, resurrected, and exalted One who forever holds his people fast.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).

Your Pastor, Servant, and Friend,

Pastor Jon