In the last 72 hours, the world has responded with an outpouring of grief, love, prayers and rallies for the 49 victims who were killed in and outside Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando early Sunday morning. It is the largest mass shooting in U.S. history and the country is still reeling and grappling with what happened.
In the wake of grief and anger, there has been chatter on social media that the response to the shooting has been minimal from conservatives and religious leaders. Many Christians have been encouraging responses to the tragedy as an opportunity to show the LGBTQ love, sympathy and compassion.
In that vein, we wanted to pull together a variety of responses from the Christian community. We want to encourage the church to minister the love, grace and truth of Jesus to our friends, family and communities who identify as LGBTQ.
Christian, your gay or lesbian neighbor is probably really scared right now. Whatever our genuine disagreements, let’s love and pray.
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) June 12, 2016
Our family mourns with all those grieving in Orlando, and with our LGBT brothers and sisters everywhere.
— Bill Hybels (@BillHybels) June 13, 2016
Sick & horrified at heart, praying for each victim & the ones who love them! Each one was beloved by God, we all grieve. #Orlando
— Sarah Bessey (@sarahbessey) June 12, 2016
Pastor Miles McPherson:
Heartbroken by what has happened in Orlando. Join me today in praying for the families and victims of this tragedy. #Orlando
— Rick Warren (@RickWarren) June 12, 2016
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez:
Pastor David Uth, First Baptist Church in Orlando:
“We know God values and loves all people, as do we at First Baptist Orlando,” Uth said. “We condemn this horrible and unjustified act of violence against the Orlando community. We hurt and pray for our friends and neighbors, especially in the LGBT community, and we extend our deepest expressions of sympathy to all the loved ones experiencing grief today.”
There were also reports that several churches held vigils, were drop-off points for supplies and rallied their congregations to donate blood. Several Chick-Fil-A restaurants in the area also opened on Sunday, a day they’re traditionally closed, to feed volunteers, first responders and families who were waiting to hear what happened to their loved ones.
In the days, weeks and months that follow, the need for comfort, counseling and care will be a continuous need. There will be incredible opportunities for the church to function as we’re called: ministers of His grace, love and truth to people who are in desperate need of Jesus and His hope.