Friends of the Church,

I wrote the following letter this morning, thinking I would send it to the local newspaper.  I’m not sure it will be published, as it goes beyond the 250-word limit of letters on the opinion page.  It is offered here for you to know where my prayers have been directed today.

I awoke this morning to the news of the deaths of five police officers in Dallas, Texas.  This, as a peaceful protest was culminating over the deaths of citizens in Baton Rouge and St. Paul.  The divisiveness and violence we see in our country and the world are not anecdotal nor isolated.  It takes time and it takes the focused energy of those who wish upheaval and destruction to cause the turmoil we see.  Our culture is not one of inclusiveness and caring for one another.  It is marred by those who desire at some level the panic and chaos that exists.  And the degrading of humanity will continue as good folks say or do nothing in response.

One small thing I can do now is to state my grief over the violence of this past week and to encourage others to do the same.  This is not a political issue.  It is not an issue of the availability of guns.  It is not an issue of hatred and races not getting along.  It is, at its core, an issue of morality and, for myself, an issue of following Jesus and His agenda more than politicians and their aims.  He has a better plan than any we have elected.

It has come to the point of standing up and standing out in the midst of a culture that continues to spiral.  Personally, I will remain focused on, and in conversation with, those who desire good for all and are willing to speak truth to each circumstance.  I believe it was Karl Barth who said we should pray with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.  In these days that certainly makes much sense.  So, in this day, I pray for the safety and welfare of our local police officers and all first responders.  Their willingness to serve the entire community should be lifted and our appreciation should be known to them.  Thanks to you all for literally placing your lives on the line for our protection and freedom.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  [Psalm 46:1]