Tragic: The Death of Lillian Wilson

It’s a pastor’s worst nightmare. UMNS reports the following story. Here’s a snippet:

And on Sunday morning, June 6, the 80-year-old retired nurse [Lillian Wilson] was in the church to finish assembling disaster relief buckets and health kits for collection at the denomination’s Arkansas Annual (regional) Conference meeting, which started Sunday night.

It was her last act of servanthood. She was found beaten to death in the church sanctuary that afternoon.

Investigators with the sheriff’s office in Cross County, Ark., were still searching June 8 for two suspects in Wilson’s death. Her pastor, the Rev. Dixon Platt, said authorities believe the murder weapon was the cross the church kept on its communion table.

It’s the sort of story that leaves you speechless. An elderly woman killed in her church’s sanctuary with the cross from the communion table. Can you imagine how hard it’s going to be to worship in that sanctuary again next Sunday? My prayers go out to this pastor and church.

What’s more, from the description of her given in the article, you can’t help but feel like you know Miss Lillian. I’ve served a handful of tiny churches over the years, and every one of them has had a Miss Lillian. That older woman who is the pillar of the church, will do whatever is needed, has served on every committee, often holding multiple positions at the same time, yet she’s still just as sweet and loving and kind. I suspect you know a Miss Lillian too.

And to think of her laying there in the sanctuary like that is just heartbreaking. If you would, stop for a moment and say a prayer for Rev. Dixon Platt and Central United Methodist Church of Wynne, Arkansas. It’s in moments like these that we most need to be the Body of Christ.

Lord, in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

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