Saturday, 24 December 2016

Beyond Human Power

The Angel Song of Advent Sung in Charleston

When Adam and Eve decided that they had the power and the authority to decide for themselves what was true and untrue, good and evil, they set in train a curse that has fallen upon the entire human race.  All who, as the catechism says, descend from Adam by ordinary generation suffer accordingly. 
All mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.  [Shorter Catechism, Q.19]
And so it was that on the 17 June, 2015 Dylann Roof (22) entered a church in Charleston, South Carolina and shot to death nine people gathered to read the Bible and pray.  Dylann Roof bears and is living out the curse of Adam.  He was born and raised in a family.  He has relatives.  [Parents: Franklin Bennett Roof, Amelia Cowles.  Siblings: Morgan Roof, Amber Roof.  Uncle: Carson Cowles.]  They, too, all bear Adam's curse.

Inside the church were people also bearing Adam's curse.  They were so much like Dylann Roof--same descent, same realities of cursedness.  They, however, although so much like Dylann Roof, were also different.  Profoundly so.  They had been born again, by the Spirit of God, into a new human race.  Their human head was no longer Adam, but Jesus Christ--the second Adam, his replacement.

These were plain, ordinary, straightforward, simple folk.
 There "yes" was yes, and their "no" was no.  Because they had believed upon Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour they were different, very different from Mr Roof.

Their surviving family members have born testimony to this.  They, too, have rejected Adam's curse, and replaced it with the blessing of the new Head of the human race.  They, like their loved ones slain, have become members, part of, the new human race, descended from Jesus Christ Himself.

How do we know?  How can we make such claims?
Relatives of some of the nine parishioners killed at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston addressed the alleged shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, during a bond hearing Friday.  Those who chose to speak delivered powerful words of forgiveness to Roof, who listened impassively via video feed from the Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston, S.C.

Here is what they said:
Nadine Collier, daughter of victim Ethel Lance“I forgive you. You took something very precious away from me. I will never get to talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you, and have mercy on your soul. … You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people. If God forgives you, I forgive you.”

Relative of Myra Thompson“I would just like him to know that, to say the same thing that was just said: I forgive him and my family forgives him. But we would like him to take this opportunity to repent. Repent. Confess. Give your life to the one who matters most: Christ. So that He can change him and change your ways, so no matter what happens to you, you’ll be okay.”

Felicia Sanders, mother of Tywanza Sanders“We welcomed you Wednesday night in our Bible study with welcome arms. You have killed some of the most beautiful  people that I know. Every fiber in my body hurts and I’ll, I’ll never be the same. Tywanza Sanders was my son. But Tywanza Sanders was my hero. Tywanza was my hero. … May God have mercy on you.”

Wanda Simmons, granddaughter of Daniel Simmons“Although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate, this is proof, everyone’s plea for your soul, is proof that they lived in love and their legacies will live in love. So hate won’t win. And I just want to thank the court for making sure that hate doesn’t win.”

Sister of DePayne Middleton Doctor“That was my sister, and I’d like to thank you on behalf of my family for not allowing hate to win. For me, I’m a work in progress. And I acknowledge that I am very angry. But one thing that DePayne always enjoined in our family … is she taught me that we are the family that love built. We have no room for hating, so we have to forgive. I pray God on your soul.”  [Washington Post]
Nothing more can, nor need, be said.  Except this: when the new Head of the human race, Jesus Christ was born, the ordinary, rustic shepherds were told by the angel of the Lord, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ (Messiah), the Lord," and a heavenly chorus sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among those with whom he is pleased." [Luke 2: 11,14.]  God had foreordained and foreseen this day in Charleston, when these eloquent testimonies to the glory and power of His Son's reign, would be offered up June 19. 2015.

The families of the slain in Charleston have testified to all the world of the earth-shattering, curse-lifting power of our new Head.  They have sung the angels' song.  May the Roof family also escape Adam's curse and find new life at the feet of the Christ.  This is Advent's mark.  Angel's song.

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