Most of us don't give thought to death on a daily basis. I would venture to say that there are some days when we do not even think about it at all. But we should. Because in the least-expected place, it can come for us.
Nine people found that out two weeks ago in Charleston, South Carolina. They were simply attending a midweek prayer meeting and Bible study at a church that had been in existence for nearly 200 years. A young man walked in, sat with them for about an hour, and then opened fire, killing the pastor who was also a state senator, a library manager, a church choir member, the church's maintenance man, another pastor, an administrator at Southern Wesleyan University, a high school track coach, a Bible study teacher, and a young man who died because he jumped in front of the gun in order to protect a family member. In the most unlikely of places, they all met the one thing they probably never dreamed of meeting there -- death.
The entire nation was shocked by the tragedy.
However, as the victims' families, the church, and the community came together, the nation saw a different response to death. Yes, there was crying and mourning for those who had been lost. But there was even more prayer, love, acceptance, and even forgiveness toward the man who had carried out this terrible act. They could respond in this manner because they knew that the nine people who died in Charleston were prepared, not necessarily for death, but for what comes after.
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