Grieving and Guarding

Sunday, November 5 is a difficult day for Sutherland Springs and for all of us across the country as we grieve the shooting at the First Baptist Church there. Authorities will continue to investigate while all of us carry the weight of grief and shock. It seems that I have blogged about living with evil many times over the last few years.  Jim Denison’s blog this morning addresses the same issues, and I continue to love his heart and recommend his blog to you today.

As we’re grieving, we’re also focused on guarding safety with a fresh urgency.  Months after we opened our current facility, someone walked into a Missouri church and shot the pastor while he was speaking from the pulpit.  That day, we ramped up our security efforts to protect everyone on our campus.  We have been fortunate to have many members in law enforcement who faithfully attend our church.  Many of them volunteer their time to provide security for our campus whenever our doors are open.  They are well-trained, vigilant, and unobtrusive.

Years ago, someone was asking about the cameras, electronic check-in system for children, walkie-talkie purchases, and our uniformed police officer who serves here.  These are the steps that we took years ago to prevent a day like yesterday from coming here.  We remember too well the pain of other church tragedies and we are devoted to protecting our entire family every time our doors are open.

Our church is not a fortress behind which we hide from the world.  It is a launching pad for people who are called to live the Jesus life wherever we go.  While we gather here, we will continue to learn and adapt to our security needs while we also hold out the hope of Christ to our community.  It’s a strange balance of grieving and guarding, being prepared and hoping we never have to lean on those safety measures to protect lives.  On a difficult day like today, we realize that the hope we have in Christ is EVERYTHING.  No matter what comes, how dark the day, how great the grief, Jesus will continue to comfort us, lead us, and deliver us some day to the place that is our REAL home.  Until then, we will be vigilant, even as we grieve, serve, and reach out to our world with grace.

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