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Scruggs with his youngest daughter Hallie.

Nashville pastor returns to pulpit after daughter killed in shooting

Chad Scruggs, senior pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nashville, recently preached his first sermon since his 9-year-old daughter was killed in a mass shooting at a Christian school.

“First of all, we love you,” he said. “We loved you before March 27, and we love you more now because of how you have loved us.”

Speaking of his personal grief, he shared an insight into what his family is dealing with saying that his they re living out Isaiah 40:28-31, which reads:

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they 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.”

“We aren’t yet soaring on wings like eagles. We aren’t yet running without being weary. We’re simply trying to walk without fainting,” said Pastor Scruggs admitted in his sermon.

Scruggs’ youngest child and only daughter, Hallie, was one of six people killed at the Covenant School in Nashville after 28-year-old trans-identified shooter Audrey Hale fired through its doors and entered room after room in search of people to kill. Hale was shot dead by police officers who rushed to the scene about 14 minutes after the initial 911 call came in. Scruggs said his family often is asked how they are doing, but “we just don’t know how to answer it yet. We’re doing not well; kind of searching for a new baseline in life right now.”

The pastor said he is finding comfort in C.S. Lewis’ book “A Grief Observed.”

“Lewis talked about that loss like an amputation, which has been helpful for me for this reason,” he said. “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 will tell you that that’s OK. You can do that. Learning to live with sadness.”

Scruggs said he is thankful that he, his wife and their sons, have never felt “alone” in their time of grief and thanked his congregation for their support.  “You have shown up to suffer with us, which is an acknowledgment that love under the shadow of the cross is often best expressed not with words but in presence and tears,” he said.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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