This is a time to mourn. The tragic loss of five lives in Dallas Thursday night weighs heavy on our hearts. We lament that a peaceful gathering in Dallas at which protestors and police officers were posing together for photographs was shattered by deadly violence. No amount of fear, hurt or anger can ever justify taking the lives of these police officers. We pray for the families of Officers Michael Krol, Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Lorne Ahrens, and Michael Smith. We pray for the other seven officers who were wounded and the two civilian protestors who were shot.
The pain we feel at these senseless shootings does not lessen or diminish the loss we feel at the killing of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and we pray for their families and loved ones as well.
We mourn the loss of any and all of God’s children. Help us as individuals and as a nation to mourn and grieve every single life needlessly lost to violence.
Help us to see that we don’t have to choose between standing with protestors or standing with police. Violence anywhere and everywhere breaks your heart and should break ours as well 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 you are a God who is fully present in suffering. You are a God who has entered into this world and fully taken on all of our pain.
We recognize 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 your help but we pray because we know we must be changed ourselves.
We confess that we feel fear for our country and for the future. 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 may 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 all that is happening in our land that we will be united in our common grief and though our tears we might catch sight of our common humanity.
God of grace and mercy, we pray for movements for the dignity of life—black life, police life, brown life, vulnerable and weary life and we ask that your love reigns supreme.
We ask and pray all of this in the spirit and name of Jesus. Amen.