(published at LeaderWorks)
Fran and I were at a concert at Fair Park last night enjoying the wry humor of Jim Gaffigan. Toward the end of his performance, a couple in front of us got up abruptly and started to leave. Their movements were sudden and quick; it seemed out of place. I asked the woman, “What’s going on?” She answered with a full sentence I can’t remember now. All I heard were these words: Shooting. Dallas. Officers. Twitter. Terrible.
A tweet on social media and alerted them. They were gone…not knowing the full extent of the crimes that had been committed or the city lockdown that was to come.
Fran and I left right away too. Only moments before we were both laughing at a favorite comic. Then, driving on the way to our home we listened to the shocking news on the radio. We saw a few helicopters hovering in the night sky scanning the urban area. A manhunt was underway. The news was sketchy and uncertain. God forbid, but it was all true and more.
The massacre was brazen and cruel. Five law enforcement officers are dead. Eleven others wounded. Ambushed in Dallas near Dealy Plaza. Lord have mercy.
Can this be happening?
There will be another national debate about race and violence and guns and police and lives that matter. There had been two other two stories in the news about police shootings elsewhere in the country. Videos of those confrontations went viral. A #BlackLivesMatter demonstration had been underway in downtown Dallas when the coordinated ambush began. It was peaceful. I have seen pictures of police and demonstrators posing together. But then the ambush.
President Obama called this attack “a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement”. It is. The Mayor of Orlando is tweeting with a hashtag #WeStandWithDallas.
But can this be happening, again?
It seems that our world teeters between tragedies these days. Attacks from foreign terrorists are routine now. Murder and racial violence are the terrors we face from within.
We live in a broken world. We see it and we wonder what can be done. Something must be done. Thank God for those that will bring these criminals to justice and those who can address the racial tensions. They imagine a city like the one that is beautifully described in the Bible: “…a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9) That is our hope of what is to come.
But now we weep and mourn over the ugly crimes in Dallas last night. We must pray for the families of the victims. They have a sad road ahead. We must pray for our law enforcement agencies and those who are sworn to protect and serve us. May they be protected themselves as they serve. And we must pray for the race relations all over our country and now also here in Dallas.
Heavenly Father, in your Word you have given us a vision of
that holy City to which the nations of the world bring their
glory: Behold and visit, we pray, the cities of the earth.
Renew the ties of mutual regard which form our civic life.
Send us honest and able leaders. Enable us to eliminate
poverty, prejudice, and oppression, that peace may prevail
with righteousness, and justice with order, and that men and
women from different cultures and with differing talents may
find with one another the fulfillment of their humanity;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.