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Blessed are those who mourn


WORLD Radio - Blessed are those who mourn

The school and church at the center of Monday’s shooting in Nashville

A man wipes away tears during a prayer vigil at a Methodist church on Monday in Franklin, Tenn. AP Photo/John Amis

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Tuesday, the 28th day of March, 2023.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

First up: the Christian school at the center of a shooting in Nashville, Tennessee.

Well, as you already know, a deadly shooting claimed the lives of three elementary school children, three adults employed at the school, and last of all, the shooter herself.

REICHARD: While we wait for authorities to sort through clues looking for a motive, we thought it would be helpful to tell you more about the school and the church it’s connected to.

The Covenant School serves about 200 students from preschool through 6th grade. It was founded in 2001 by Covenant Presbyterian Church. Here’s school administrator Katherine Koonce in a video from 2020.

KATHERINE KOONCE: We do life together at Covenant, you see. We love big, and we love well, through laughter and tears, our faith woven through every lesson, every moment.

REICHARD: On Monday, Police Chief John Drake confirmed that Koonce was among the victims killed by the shooter.

WORLD writer Emily Whitten attends Covenant Presbyterian Church, and she says that processing this tragedy will take time.

EMILY WHITTEN: It’s going to take a while for this, for us to get our minds around what has happened. And our hearts are just really aching and hurting for the people who are dealing with this grief and trauma.

REICHARD: Emily says that she’s comforted knowing that the church’s pastors focus on the gospel, regardless of circumstances. Chad Scruggs, one of Covenant Church’s pastors since 2018, was among those hit with bitter news yesterday. His 9-year-old daughter, Hallie, was killed in the shooting.

WHITTEN: The thing that kept running through my mind as I was processing this today was, ‘Thank You, Lord, that You’re there, thank You that the gospel is paramount is just at the center of everything that we want to do. His Name is going to be exalted through the midst of this. That’s my prayer. And that is my belief. And that is my joy. And I’m just so grateful that we have a good, good God who is over death.

Back at the beginning of March, Pastor Scruggs preached a sermon from John 11 about the resurrection of Lazarus. Towards the end, Scruggs pointed out that the middle of a hard story looks different when you know how the story ends.

CHAD SCRUGGS: The whole time Jesus knew how the whole thing would go down and yet what are the most remarkable things about this story, it always gets me, is that knowing exactly what he's about to do Jesus sits down and does what? He weeps. Do you see that a strong confidence in the end of the story does not undo or justify the absence of grief in the middle. A mature faith adds its tears to the sadness in our world Jesus says blessed are those who mourn all the while not losing confidence and how that sadness will eventually be overcome in him

If you're doubting the love of Jesus, you try to work it out through your circumstances. No, you never read your circumstances and then read the Love of Jesus. You read the Love of Jesus towards your circumstances. If you are doubting his love for you, if you are struggling with his authority in the midst of sadness and confusion, let the cross speak to you again. Look there so that you might say confidently, ‘see how he loves me. This is the one man given for me.

REICHARD: WORLD’s reporters are on the ground in Nashville and will bring us further news later in the week. For now, we can rest in the fact that the God who made the world and everything in it is working even in this tragic situation.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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