As followers of Jesus Christ, we mourn with those who mourn in every disaster, mass shooting, or terrorist attack. From the men killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting to the Muslims killed by other Muslims in the Middle East, Jesus instructs us to mourn with those who mourn.
The Sutherland Springs shooting, however, was just a little closer to home, as those who were killed were worshipping in a church, as so many of us were at the time of the shooting. We all got home from attending sermons or Sunday school to find that over two dozens of our brothers and sisters in Christ had been brutally killed at the hands of a madman.
There is both painful and joyful heart-wrenching bittersweetness knowing that they perished in such a gruesome way while worshipping the Lord and that they are also now with Him.
That is the very message the congregation of Sutherland Springs First Baptist wants the world to hear, and, thanks to the vulture mainstream media descending on the memorial they have created and the service they held one week after the shooting, the Gospel is being preached around the world in the memory of the victims.
In just one week, the community of Sutherland Springs banded together to turn the bullet-riddled church into a stunning memorial to the slain worshippers, who were killed in the middle of Sunday morning service on November 5th.
The bloodstained carpet has been removed and the walls and floor painted a simple white. A few lamps line the walls and a recording of John 3:16 and other Bible verses plays on a loop for visitors to hear.
26 empty white chairs sit where pews once were, with the names of each victim–including Crystal Holcombe’s unborn baby girl–painted on the chairs. There is a red rose placed on each, with the exception of the baby girl, who had a pink rose.
“We had some amazing people come and pull off a miracle to basically rebuild this sanctuary,” said Associate Pastor Mark Collins as he welcomed the public into the memorial.
The church held their first service since the shooting in a tent nearby, and Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who lost his daughter in the shooting, grieved and also rejoiced knowing where his brothers and sisters are now.
For all the media to hear he said, “We know they are dancing with Jesus right now.”
In the midst of unbearable heartbreak and tragedy, the Truth of the Gospel shone its amazing light around the whole world. Where media outlets scrambled for a story, they became the unwitting vessels of the glorious news of Christ’s salvation.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:26