Pastor who lost daughter in Nashville Christian school shooting is 'learning to live with sadness'

Pastor Chad Scruggs.(Photo: Covenant Presbyterian Church)

The senior pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, Chad Scruggs, has spoken about how he is living with the pain of grief in his first sermon since his 9-year-old daughter was killed in a Christian school shooting in Nashville.

Trans-identified shooter Audrey Hale, 28, killed six people in the mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville on 27 March, including Hallie Scruggs, the pastor's youngest child and only daughter. 

In his sermon, Pastor Scruggs expressed gratitude to the congregation for helping his family through their difficult time.

He admitted that it has not been easy and that sometimes his family have struggled to know how to answer when people have asked how they are doing.

"We're doing not well; kind of searching for a new baseline in life right now," he said.

Despite this, he said they had never felt alone since the tragedy because of the loving support of the congregation. 

"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. 

He has also taken comfort in the words of CS Lewis in his book, A Grief Observed.

"Lewis talked about that loss like an amputation, which has been helpful for me for this reason. How are you doing? Well, we're learning to live with a part of us missing," Scruggs said.

"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."