I actually wept in my office yesterday. Not because I knew the officer. Not because I am somehow involved with or attached to the Kansas City Kansas Police Department. I wept because I was incredibly sad and stunned. The events of yesterday…the events of the past several weeks throughout our country have been filled with tragedy and pain.
The men and women who serve our city as first responders have so much courage and conviction. The courage and conviction it takes to put that uniform on daily, the courage and conviction it takes to run toward the scenes filled with danger- that courage means something. It is that type of courage that I believe Christ-followers should have toward the mission given to them. A courage born from conviction that the Gospel matters. But, beyond that, we, the people of Kansas City need that same courage and conviction to remember that people matter. People who are different then you and people who see life through a different lens – they all matter. So what do we do in the face of these tragedies? Here are a few brief thoughts.
First, let me start with the church because the church is the one place where we are convinced that everyone is made in the image of God and therefore has value. The church must have the courage to engage in building meaningful relationships with people, not only of different races but also of different creeds. The church must be filled with and demonstrate empathy and must speak out against violence as a solution to violence and demonstrating as a solution to racism. Relationships filled with forgiveness and understanding are the only solution to racism and violence. That is exactly why we will be talking about these things this weekend!
Second, as a city we must have the courage to stand and not give up. We must have the courage to care for each other despite differences. We must have the courage to allow the police to do their jobs. We must have the courage to refuse to repay evil with evil.
Let me leave you with some lyrics. Last night while listening to some music on my run I heard this song and it so encouraged my heavy heart. Here are a few of the words.
They are inside your head
you gotta voice that says
“You won’t get past this one,
you won’t win your freedom”
It’s like a constant war
and you want to settle that score
but you’re bruised and beaten
and you feel defeated
This goes out to the heaviest hearts
Oh, to everyone whose hit their limit,
it’s not over yet, it’s not over yet,
and even when you think you’re finished,
it’s not over yet, it’s not over yet!
If you’re interested, check out the full song here: