We’re Alex and David, and we were two of the hundreds of people who joined the vigil on Sunday afternoon outside Dallas Police Headquarters. We wanted to be there to stand in solidarity with others from our community as we prayed for our city and country.
Alex: I found out about the prayer gathering Sunday morning from a friend’s Instagram channel. There were about 100 different pastors, from all different races and denominational backgrounds, who suggested that we needed to come together and pray. Jeff Warren from Park Cities Baptist and Bryan Carter from Concord Church decided to take the lead and organized the event.
David: I don’t know if you’re familiar with Bryan Carter (Concord Bible Church) and Jeff Warren (Park Cities Baptist Church), but they started Dallas Clergy and have been the pioneers leading reconciliation efforts in Dallas-Fort Worth for about six years now. They initiated the “pulpit switch”, where pastors from different races periodically switch pulpits to promote unity and understanding. They have become trusted voices who can effect real change and are true influencers in our city. Dallas Police Chief Reneé Hall even participated in the gathering today, and Mark Cuban was there, too…with a few of his players.
Alex: It was incredible to see such a diverse group of people on their knees praying for unity, healing and justice. The main harboring point was that we need to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” I needed to hear that. I have felt very numb and isolated–not really sure how to deal with what I was feeling. But gathering to pray like we did today is the healthiest way to respond. We need to come together in unity, not create more division.
David: I was tuning into Facebook live yesterday, just watching the faces of people who were protesting in the streets. It really struck me how everyone seemed to be looking around, searching for a leader. People are lost and confused with no real direction. Nobody is sure quite how to respond. This is a perfect opportunity for the church to rise up and give guidance in a way that will bring comfort, unity, and healing.
Alex: We’re no longer confined to the walls of the church. We must go out and respond–simply seeking to understand the hurt, be good listeners, and open the door for deeper conversations. God called us to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is our opportunity to respond in love.
David: The world is watching to see what we’ll do. There is so much despair. People are hurting. The media is pouring out stories about negativity and division. We need to broadcast a story of hope.
Alex: I was reading this morning in Psalm 72…a passage of scripture that talks about the justice of God, and how he defends the afflicted and rescues them from oppression and violence. Even when we feel confused and uncertain about how to respond to unjust killings, we can rest assured that God does not forsake us or leave us alone.
David: It’s so important, too, that we stand together. Zechariah 3: 9 talks about the people of God returning to worship Him in one accord– “shoulder to shoulder.” The metaphor here is of oxen working side-by-side to carry the burden as they plow the field. In the same way, God puts us together so we can learn to walk side-by-side in step with one another. Racial reconciliation is going to take work, and it won’t be easy. But in the end, we’ll see the seeds we sow sprout and spring forth life as the efforts of our labor grow into something beautiful.
(David Miranda is the Director of Urban Missions for Texas Baptists and pastors the West End Church in Dallas. Alex Lee is the owner and founder of God Knows apparel and attends Christ Freedom Church in Lewisville.)
Share some ideas below of how you are getting involved and helping out in your community.
Nominate the Next Hero
Want us to highlight a person or group as a Neighborhood Hero? Send your recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of who and why they should be featured.