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ICYMI: Pastor Preaches Powerful First Sermon Since Daughter Died in Christian School Shooting

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Two months after his young daughter tragically became one of six people killed by the deranged Covenant School shooter, Tennessee pastor Chad Scruggs returned to the pulpit.

Scruggs is senior pastor at Nashville’s Covenant Presbyterian Church, which runs Covenant Christian School — a name that made worldwide headlines when former student Audrey Hale went on a shooting rampage there on March 27.

Three of the shooting victims were 9-year-old students at the school, including Scruggs’ daughter Hallie, Evelyn Dieckhaus and William Kinney.

Staff members Mike Hill, Katherine Koonce and Cynthia Peak, also died in the gunfire.

Speaking to his congregation on Mother’s Day, May 14, Scruggs said many have asked him how his family is doing, but it’s nearly impossible to answer a question like that.

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“The answer you’ll typically get for us from us is, ‘we don’t know,'” Scruggs said.

“It’s not a bad question, [we] just don’t know how to answer it yet — don’t know how to judge what doing well is or doing not well.

“We’re kind of searching for a new baseline in life right now,” he said.

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The grieving father expressed gratitude to the congregation for their support during the past two months.

“First of all, we love you,” he said at the start of the sermon.

“We loved you before March 27th and we love you more now because of how you’ve loved us, so … we love you.”

Scruggs said he has found a helpful resource in a book by C.S. Lewis, “A Grief Observed,” which Lewis wrote after the death of his wife, Joy.

“Lewis talked about that loss like an amputation, which has been helpful for me for this reason,” Scruggs said.

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“‘How are you doing?’ Well, we’re learning to live with a part of us missing — like losing an arm, perhaps — knowing that the phantom pain of that lost arm will always be there with us.

“Just know that, from our perspective now, it feels impossible to ever pretend the arm will regenerate or that it will ever feel whole this side of heaven.

“So I’d say we’re learning to live with sadness and I would tell you that that’s okay — you can do that — learning to live with sadness.”

He compared their situation to that of Isaiah 40:38 — “[T]hey who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

“At this point,” he said, “[we’re] not yet soaring on wings like eagles, not running without weariness, but that third category, somewhere, trying to walk without fainting.”

He made reference to a remark someone made to him: “There really is something worse than being sad: It’s being sad and being alone.”

“And we were very grateful that we have never felt alone.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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