Brothers and Sisters,
This is a time to mourn.
The tragic loss of five lives in Dallas last night weights heavy on all our hearts. No amount of fear, hurt or anger can ever justify taking the lives of these police officers.
The pain we feel today at these senseless shootings does not lessen or in any way diminish the loss we feel at the killing of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
We mourn the loss of any and all of God’s children.
There is not a choice between standing with protesters or standing with police. Violence anywhere and everywhere breaks the heart of God just as injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere.
As Christians, we stand with all who are suffering, we seek to comfort all who are mourning and we seek justice for all who have been wronged.
We believe in a God who is not just with those who suffer but is fully present in their suffering. God is a God who has entered into this world and fully taken on all of our pain.
It is true that our prayers today won’t end the violence. Hatred and fear will not be stopped overnight. We pray not just because we know that we are in need of God’s help but we pray because we know we must be changed ourselves.
We must confess that we feel fear. We know that police officers will feel fear as they began their shift as will their loved ones feel fear until they return home. We know that black mothers and fathers will feel fear for their children each time they walk out of the house or drive in a car. We know ordinary Americans might be tempted to fear one another during these tense times.
As we mourn and remember we will all be faced with the choice of allowing that fear to grow inside of us or turning towards the perfect love that casts out all fear.
We pray today that in the midst of this all we can only hope that we will be united in our common grief and though our tears we might catch a sight of our common humanity.
Reverend Elijah R. Zehyoue
Director of Programs and Communications
Resource: Litany for a Mourning People