Who Can Heal Us?

This morning I’m going to break from our trajectory of moving through Ephesians. We’ve been studying Paul’s letter to followers of Jesus in and around the ancient city of Ephesus. This week we will still study some of Ephesians but I’m going to forgo the order we’ve had up to this point. This is; we’ve been going wherever the text of the Scriptures lead us to let it speak to us each week. This week I’m going to jump around a bit in light of the events of the past week. Or, better said, we are going to see what the Holy Spirit is saying to us today in the light of events that have culminated in the last week. This is a much bigger story than just a few isolated incidents.

I’ve always felt that the church needs to have open discussions about complicated issues. Please understand this is my best attempt at allowing Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and the way of Jesus  to inform how I engage the world.

The incidents I’m referring to, of course, are the deaths of Alton Sterling, a black man shot several times while being held on the ground by police outside a Louisiana convenience store, Philando Castile, a young black school nutrition services worker who was shot by a police officer during a stop for a minor violation. Also, there was the sniper attack resulting in the death of Dallas Police officers Patrick Zamarripa, Brent Thompson, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, and Lorne Ahrens, killed in the line of duty, as well as 7 officers and 2 civilians who were injured during the shooting.

This list is really much longer than this if we include officers and civilians who have lost their lives over the past years, at what seems to be the epicenter of racial hostility in our country.

I think most of our country would stand together in affirming that these are all senseless tragedies.

Last evening, some of the staff and church members gathered with city officials and other people form the Stafford community to honor our police, firemen, EMTs. Our city, Stafford, has demonstrated a deep commitment to serving our community with high honor and integrity. We are exploring a pilot program with the city to provide chaplaincy for the police force.

Who Can Heal Us?

What made these events this week so troubling is that we were brought to the scene of the crime so vividly through cell phone video accounts. They are shockingly real to us. We’ve heard the gunshots, we’ve heard to cries, we’ve entered to chaos, and we feel the devastating grief.

I was reading the news Saturday morning and read a headline asking, “Who Can Heal Us?” I believe this sums up our ache as a country. We need healing. We are broken.

I want to offer a humble pastoral perspective and challenge all of to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us and teach us. I feel a particular pastoral weight in this challenge. While we all agree in our disgust at the events of the week, these senseless shootings, we have differing narratives that they fit into.

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