This morning our daughter walked into our room as we were consuming coverage of the shootings last night in Dallas. She asked the question, "Why would anyone want to shoot the police with guns?" This violence came on the heels of the widely publicized police killings of African Americans Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. From all indications last night's violence seems to be vengeance against real and perceived police brutality. The past 72 hours have been tough ones for our country as we once again are faced with questions of racism, violence, and vengeance. We echo the Psalmists who write, "How long O Lord?" We cry out for mercy and comfort.
How do we make sense of the senseless taking of life? When we look at the stories in the BIble and we discover that after the fall, this taking of life was not uncommon. Cain and Tubal-Cain committed horrible acts of violence. David, the man after God's own heart, murdered a man to cover up his own lust-filled affair. The book of Judges ends with "everyone did as they saw fit" after it told of the awful violence that God's people had fallen into. I'm worried that our country is headed there.
It's time to weep. The overwhelming majority of police officers are there to protect and serve. They do not deserve to be targeted. The loss of 5 police officers lives last night in Dallas is something to weep over. At the same time, the senseless killing of young black men has to stop. We weep for the Alton Sterlings, the Philando Castiles, and others. Police lives matter. Black lives matter. Latino lives matter. Muslim lives matter. White lives matter. Asian lives matter. Women's lives matter. All of us are created in God's image and that gives every human being intrinsic value and worth. We also have to admit that we are broken by sin. We are fractured from God and fractured from each other. So we weep. We weep over the context that gives rise to violence. We weep over our own prejudices. We weep over the brokeness of the world, and we place our pain and the world's pain in God's merciful and righteous hands.
It's also time to act. I'm sure over the next few days the usual narratives will play out. The gun control law advocates will start shouting, and the anti-gun law advocates will shout back all the louder. Soon there will be a cacophony of voices. While I am all for sensible gun legislation, we will not legislate violence out of people. God gave the world a great gift in Jesus Christ. God has acted through Jesus - His life, His teachings, His compassion, His atoning death, and His resurrection. God has handed His church the gift of Grace. But God expects us to not keep it for ourselves. He expects us to share this grace with the world. God's Grace through Jesus is what reconciles us back together. The great promise of Revelation is that all nations, tribes, and tongues will worship God together in unity. Only the Gospel can do this. It's time to act church. It's time to listen, it's time to share, and it's time walk worthy of the calling of Jesus in the world.