MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A St. Paul pastor is sharing a message of faith as he remembers a man who was shot and killed as he left Bible study.

(credit: CBS)

You can find a memorial to Rayvell Carter outside St. Albans Church of God in Christ. Once you walk inside, one can experience the living memorial.

Pastor William Land gave his sermon Sunday honoring a man who died in front of his church Wednesday night. There was no talk about regret, anger or even frustration.

“Rayvell died the way he lived: for the Lord and with his Bible,” Land said.

Pastor Land has one main prayer for his church and his people.

“Because there is a judgement day, there is life after death. We don’t want our children dying without knowing him,” Land said.

Carter was active in his faith.

RELATED: Neighbors Rattled After Man Shot, Killed While Leaving St. Paul Church

“Guess what? God answered our prayer. We don’t want our children to die without knowing him,” Land said.

Carter wasn’t simply a member of his congregation, he was Pastor Land’s nephew – a man he watched grow up.

“If I focus on his death, I cannot appreciate his life. But if I focus on his life, I can appreciate that he was ready to die,” Land said.

Carter’s sudden, violent death at 41 years old was shocking for the whole family, but the family’s faith illustrates their grief.

“Our faith is core to who we are. I think that’s how we navigate every area of our life, so it’s not just when bad things happen. It’s how we navigate joy and stress. Everything we navigate is through the lens of our faith,” said Destyn Land, Carter’s cousin.

And that lens shapes Pastor Land’s message to the killer of his nephew.

“I pray whoever had a role in the murder of Rayvell Carter, that they repent of their sins. You hear what I said?” Land said.

Carter’s visitation and funeral will be on this coming Friday at 11 am at the Redeeming Love Church in Maplewood.

Katie Steiner

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