My heart sank like so many others did when the Oct. 13 Amber Alert showed up on my phone.
I didn’t personally know 3-year-old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney nor do I know her family but her sweet smile, bright eyes and adorable face looking back at me from the photo tugged at the Aunt Jen Jen side of me.
My thoughts were similar to the words said in prayer by Birmingham-area AME pastor Alvelyn Sanders Swafford at Cupcake’s funeral:
“Lord, we don’t know how we got here. We just know we are here. … Help us. Holy Spirit, heal the hurt and pain. Encircle this family.”
In the days between her abduction Oct. 12 and the discovery of her body Oct. 22 a city and state found a common bond as we all waited anxiously, wanting desperately for an ending we did not get.
But even in the midst of our heartbreak, “there is a man whose name is Jesus,” Swafford reminded those attending the funeral service. “We stand on the name of Jesus. We thank you for what you are going to do.”
Pastor Sylvester Wilson of New Beginning Christian Ministry in Birmingham, who preached the sermon at Cupcake’s service, reminded family and friends to run from revenge and straight to Jesus.
“God didn’t cause it but He allowed it to happen to do His work,” Wilson said. “The whole world is watching her life unfold now. … What little baby could bring the whole city, nation and world together except she was sent by God?”
Swafford referenced a similar sentiment: “There was a baby named Kamille who made us all stop and check ourselves. She made us all stop and look in the mirror and [ask], ‘Are we really who You called us to be? She made us look twice at ourselves and see if we are really doing the work of the Church.”
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