God IS Present in this Church
By Mary Dell Green, Christ United Member
A horrific event happened Sunday in this tiny Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A deranged man entered the church, killed 26 people and injured 20 others. They were as young as infants and as old as seventy-year old members.
Let me tell you my story. I grew up in San Antonio, and my Grandparents always lived in Sutherland Springs, a few miles southeast. They lived in a house my Grandfather built by hand in the 30’s. Most Saturdays we would pile in the car and head to my Grandparent’s house for the day. As soon as we got there, my Grandmother would greet my Mom and Dad, settle my brother in with toys, and then she and I would walk, hand in hand, the short distance along the rural highway to this church. It was always open. We would go through those doors that have been splashed across our TV screens. I would play beloved hymns on the piano. That is my first real memory of loving good old Baptist church music.
Over time, their funerals, and that of my Father’s, were held in this sacred place. I remember well the members of the church who ministered to my family, friends and local neighbors after my Dad’s funeral. My Grandparents and Dad are all buried just up the road in the little country cemetery.
I am really struggling with this tragedy because last month I was there in front of the church taking this picture in preparation for a Sunday School lesson about my faith and the choir. Jay and I had gone to San Antonio for my 55th high school reunion. Really! That long ago? I visited the Sutherland Springs church to get this photo to include in my Powerpoint lesson. Earlier in the week I had talked long distance with the pastor and the church secretary. They were both so hospitable and kind. Both invited me to attend their Sunday service while we were in town, but that was not possible.
Now I think of all those devout, simple people, just sitting in their pews for worship on Sunday morning, just as we did on that day in our beautiful CUMC Sanctuary. But then I think of the path their lives are on now and I am sad for them. There are so many funerals to be planned. Probably many gravesites will be opened near my family graves.
But I know in my heart that even though there was evil in that church on that day God was also present holding them in his arms as they entered his Kingdom. My prayer is that the spirit of the Lord will be with them in comfort and love as they rebuild their lives and the walls of this tiny country church in a small town in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
*Sherriff Deputies are onsite every Sunday morning at Christ United and the Sherriff’s Department has provided information to Christ United which will be used to update our security protocol.