A New Vision, A New Voice ~ The North Texas Conference
Pray for Dallas
July 8, 2016
As United Methodists gather for worship this Sunday, I ask that this letter be read and followed by a period of silent prayer.
Tragedy struck Dallas Thursday evening. Five Dallas law enforcement officers were killed, and seven officers and two civilians were injured. An evil act borne out of hatred devastated their families and the people of our city. Prayers of lament and courage have been offered to God, the giver of life. Prayers for their families and the loss they will forever experience have come from our hearts and our lips. We mourn and grieve with them and with the people of Baton Rouge and Minneapolis.
Violence in our society has become commonplace. One death because of violence is one too many. While we will pray and mourn today, it is now the time for the Christian community to begin the work of reconciliation. On Sunday, the appointed Gospel lesson for the day is the parable of The Good Samaritan. The lawyer’s simple questions to Jesus about how he might inherit eternal life and who is his neighbor provoke answers from Jesus that speak to us and our condition today.
Our neighbors are not only the people we know; they are the people we do not know and who may not be like us. They live in other parts of our cities or communities. They work in different occupations. They have different levels of income. And, yes, they have different colors of skin than ours, and even different religions. Specifically, they, too, are children of God. If we can begin by embracing that truth, then we can forge ahead in creating communities where our children and others’ children will no longer live in fear or mistrust or even hate for those who are different than they.
Racial tensions divide us. As Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said Friday afternoon, race is complicated. Let us not allow the complexity of the racial issue to deter us from the work Christ has called us to do. We will continue this work until all are seen as our neighbors and as valued by God.
Join me in continuing prayers for those who were killed or injured. And may we pray and work for the community God desires.
Bishop Michael McKee
North Texas Annual Conference