Category Archives: Light Along The Way

Singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman writes song for Charleston

Christian music artist Steven Curtis Chapman released a song on Saturday via social media about the shooting in Charleston that claimed the lives of nine people. Chapman posted the video recording on Facebook with a message about the victims of the shooting:

“Hello friends, It’s with a very heavy heart that I come to you with this post. As I have prayed for and grieved with the people of Charleston SC there’s one part of this terrible and tragic story in particular that continues to stir me. It’s the fact that Rev. Pinckney and the other believers gathered at Emanuel AME Church to worship, pray and study God’s Word opened their hearts & made room in their “circle” for a stranger…unknowingly but willingly inviting in the very one who would take the lives of many in their circle. They chose to love…and Love never fails…Love always has the last word! As I read Romans 12:18-21 I’m struck with how profound those words are in this situation. Ultimately evil has been and will forever be overcome with good…and there is no more powerful “good” than the love of God! As we continue to pray for comfort and peace to fill the hearts of all affected by this terrible tragedy may we be inspired by the love and the lives of Rev Pinckney and the others in that circle…& may we remember that the story is far from over. Love cannot and will not fail! With that thought I wrote this song for the people of Charleston…and to remind all of us…Love conquers all! With a heavy but hopeful heart, scc.”

Source: Singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman writes song for Charlest – FOX Carolina 21

 


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Charleston’s Faith: A Bright Light Shining

Source: Charleston Shooting: Mourners Gather for Prayer Service at Morris Brown AME Church – ABC News

 

Mourners gathered on a hot Charleston, South Carolina, day at a church prayer service, honoring the nine people killed when a gunman opened fire at another church Wednesday night.

Buckets of ice water were handed out today to people as they gathered at Charleston’s Morris Brown AME Church for a noon memorial service to mourn the nine victims of the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The inside of Morris Brown AME was packed today, from the ground level to the balcony level. An overflow room was even set up for people to watch on monitors.

Speakers included South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and local leaders.

South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn received a standing ovation as he invoked the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and talked about the “appalling silence of good people.”

“Please break your silence. Please speak up,” he said.

The mood alternated between somber and lively, particularly during upbeat hymns.

When the bishop of the church announced that the suspect had been apprehended, there were loud cheers and applause from the crowd.

As the vigil got quieter inside, you could hear a crowd outside singing, “This Little Light of Mine.”

Above: MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts broke down on air Friday while reporting live from Charleston, South Carolina, and the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, as a large crowd gathered and began singing gospel songs. The crowd gathered to sing  just as the bond was being set for the accused killer.

Roberts said, “So you’re hearing from the family, and then this whole group of people showed up. And they’re singing a gospel song. …I apologize,” he said, stopping himself and trying to fight back tears. He was referring to several family members forgiving the gunman during his bond hearing.

“But you can see the outpouring of support for his community. It goes all the way down the street of people who showed up at the exact same time that this arraignment was going on,” he continued, amazed.

“I’m sorry,” he continued, and then could not go on.  (Source: The Blaze, article by Jonathon M. Seidl, and edited by me.)

A vigil was held at Morris Brown AME Church for the nine people who were killed by a gunman in Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. 6/18/15

A prayer vigil was held at Morris Brown AME Church for the nine people who were killed by a gunman in Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. 6/18/15Bishop John Richard Bryant of the Fourth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, spoke as the prayer vigil that was held at Morris Brown AME Church for the nine people who were killed by a gunman in Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. 6/18/15A prayer vigil was held at Morris Brown AME Church for the nine people who were killed by a gunman in Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. 6/18/15A prayer vigil was held at Morris Brown AME Church for the nine people who were killed by a gunman in Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. 6/18/15

 

A prayer vigil was held at Morris Brown AME Church for the nine people who were killed by a gunman in Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. 6/18/15A prayer vigil was held at Morris Brown AME Church for the nine people who were killed by a gunman in Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. After the vigil, spontaneous hugs were shared by those in attendance. 6/18/15A stream of people brought flowers to the front of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC where nine people were shot to death. 6/18/15

Source: The State – PHOTOS: Vigil for Charleston shooting victims

Mourners pray outside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina June 18, 2015, a day after a mass shooting left nine dead during a bible study at the church (Reuters / Brian Snyder)

Mourners pray outside the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina June 18, 2015, a day after a mass shooting left nine dead during a bible study at the church (Reuters/Brian Snyder)

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Mourners gather in Charleston on Thursday, June 18, to pay tribute to the victims.

Hundreds on Thursday afternoon packed into Morris Brown A.M.E. Church, which is just blocks away from “Mother Emmanuel,” for an emotional prayer vigil. The church quickly reached capacity, and a large crowd gathered just outside its doors. – By Megan Specia.

Source: Mashable: It’s Standing Room Only at Charleston Church Vigil.

 

 

 

 

 


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“A single joy shatters a thousand griefs.” – Chinese Proverb

“They say good writers have the power to change your mind and convince you to agree with their views. I think that’s a politician’s job. The beauty of good writing – to me – is that it makes you think. The ability to agree and disagree, to discuss it and not necessarily come up with the perfect solution. When it makes you think, but doesn’t always force it’s view on you, that’s good writing to me.”  Rhea C. Dhenbhoora

 


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Believing is Seeing

“Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.”

                                                                                                                                                                Andre Gide

Following is a gallery of this past summer’s highlights…

 

 

 

 


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Books: The Printed Word

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BOOKS.

In 1456 Johann Gutenberg produced the first printed book; the Gutenberg Bible. What followed was a revolution that completely changed not only the church, but all of society and the world. Within fifty years after Gutenberg’s first Bible, the world went from zero printed books to over fifty million. This made books, and the knowledge they held, available to many people, and not just the elite, scribes and monks.

While church tradition had placed a heavy burden on the backs of believers, they could now read for themselves, with their own eyes, the truth that the gospel of Christ is meant to free people from the burdens of guilt and sin.

“Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 (NCV)

 

BBC’s beautiful production about Gutenberg: “The Machine That Made Us”


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Kindness

Daily Prompt: Photographers, artists, poets: show us KINDNESS.

 

“Dogs and philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards.”  -Diogenes

Speaking of being nice, blogger, meanderedwanderings, hits the nail on the head: “…No, I am not always nice. I do not always get it right. But, being nice to those who are not so nice is important I think. Being nice to those who perhaps annoy you is an honorable thing.

In fact, Jesus taught as much. In his sermon on kingdom ethics, referred to as the Sermon on the Mount, he said this,

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. -Matt. 5:46-48

Jesus puts it in no uncertain terms. He says if you only love, greet, are welcoming, nice, hospitable, gracious, kind… etc. to those with whom you favor or get along, then what good is that? Jesus says it very pointedly, if that’s all you guys are doing, why, you are no better than the thieving tax collectors or the pagan Gentiles!

Hey, wait a minute, I am a Gentile! Thanks for throwing me under the bus!

But, that is the point isn’t it. Those who were listening to him that day, would have been predominantly Jewish. They, in their context, would have considered themselves, almost by default, as better than tax collectors and Gentiles. Why? Well, tax collectors, generally, were fellow Jews who had taken a position with the Roman Empire. Their task was to collect taxes from their fellow Jews and give them to the Roman government. Now, in most people’s eyes, this would have been bad enough. But, the tax collectors often times did not stop there. Not only did they collect what Rome told them to, they collected more still; and with the extra, they lined their own pockets and thus, became wealthy on the backs of their fellow countrymen. You can see why there would have been great animosity toward them.

(If you want a practical application of this, read the account of Jesus calling Levi, or Matthew, who was tax collector, to be a disciple and see how the good, old Pharisees felt about the whole thing! Matt 9:9-13)

… But this is what Jesus wanted the people to see, he wanted to wake them from their spiritual slumber, to see the truth. Even though they felt superior to conniving, unethical tax collectors and unclean, barbaric pagan Gentiles they really weren’t. They were not keeping the spirit of God’s law any better than the others. Sure, they had the Law and prophets and promises of God on their side; and yes, they were strict to observe the letter of the law… but the spirit? the essence?

Jesus is not saying tax collectors are as bad as they think or that Gentiles are the scum of the earth (lucky for me!); no, he is saying we are all in need of the Savior. We all cater to those who we like or who like us; or, who are most like us. Whether we are tax collectors or Gentiles or God-fearing, God-honoring Jews we all have need of the new birth.

Christ proved as much, as he called Matthew, a tax collector himself, to be a disciple. He dined with tax collectors and sinners, as they were typically identified by the Pharisees. He met with Zacchaeus, the tax collector. He met and performed miracles for Gentiles. In fact, he said, in the Great Commission, his gospel was to go into the entire world; Gentiles included.

So, yes, I have done some nice things. But, I cannot take much credit for any of it. All the credit goes to Christ; for he is my righteousness, my grace, my love, my kindness and my life.”


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Choice

Photographers, artists, poets: show us CHOICE.

In her exquisitely crafted, beautiful and deeply insightful book “An Everlasting Meal: Cooking With Economy and Grace” Tamar Adler observes,

“whether it’s nudging dried leaves around a patch of cement, or salting a tomato, we feel, when we exert tiny bits of our human preference in the universe, more alive.”

She also says of MFK Fisher who authored the book, “How To Cook a Wolf“, that she “advocated cooking with gusto not only for vanquishing hardship with pleasure, but for

‘weeding out what you yourself like best to do so that you can live most agreeably in a world full of an ever increasing number of disagreeable surprises.'”

Their words speak rivetingly to me about CHOICE; how making even the smallest choices in our daily lives that improve, to our liking, how something looks, or tastes, helps us feel and be more alive and better able to cope with the many un-chosen surprises this world throws our way.

Mayflower Pilgrims

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think of the humble Mayflower pilgrims; a handful of God-honoring men and women, who braved a treacherous, two-month ocean crossing because of their need to be free to worship God as they chose. Having been trapped in a system that had persecuted them for trying to exercise this freedom, they risked their physical lives for their soul’s freedom of choice in this regard.

“The coming hither of the Pilgrim three centuries ago… shaped the destinies of this Continent, and therefore profoundly affected the destiny of the whole world.”  President Roosevelt

It is empowering, and at the same time very humbling, to recognize the enormous impact the choices we make can have!pilgrim woman


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Reputation

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Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is is accurate? What do you think about it?

I found the most beautiful, truthful response to this question on meanderedwanderings.wordpress.com ‘s blog post. I can’t say it any better, so I am redirecting you to his blog. Here is an excerpt:

“We have all seen it. We have seen a person fall from grace;… I do think allowance should be made, call it grace or civility, for reputations to change. A person may start life in a haphazard or foolish way. They may make mistakes and thus gain a poor reputation. But what if that person turns it around? …What if that person is transformed by the gospel of Christ? What reputation should we hold them to? Which reputation would you want to be held to?

The woman at the well (in John 4) had a reputation… But then she encountered this Jewish man from a little town called Nazareth… Oh, he knew of her reputation. He knew of her character as well. He knew all those secret things, whether good or bad, that she hid in her heart and mind. He knew her completely, perfectly. And he came to that well that day just for her. He came that day to tell her the good news (the gospel) that she could be transformed, changed, redeemed… she could have a new reputation. But even more, a new soul, a new hope…”

 


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