Finding Community in Tragedy
The shootings last week in Minneapolis, Baton Rouge, and Dallas left many of us feeling sad, angry, and powerless. Our country witnessed 7 very public deaths that called into question America’s progress on race and gun violence issues. I felt resigned that these incidents were further evidence of the intractable problems that could forever haunt our nation.
On Friday morning, Lisa Kimball sent an email that helped change my perspective. Her email voiced the personal pain she had experienced in the wake of the shootings. She suggested that we postpone our scheduled “Coffee & Conversation” plans, and instead provide a time to discuss these troubling events as a community.
This was a brave act. Lisa’s faith and vulnerability allowed her to imagine that others might be also struggling, and that a listening session might do us all some good. Too often we assume that our problems are not shared by others, and as a result, healing is slow and solutions are hard to find. Her voice strengthened mine and reminded me of my baptismal vows. I am grateful for that encouragement. I really needed it.
We could have of remained isolated within our individual inabilities to make sense of these horrific events. Instead, over 40 members of the Epiphany community gathered together to comfort each other, and to have a dialogue on police-community relations. Three members of the Metropolitan Police Department joined us to provide their frontline perspective. They were candid and thoughtful, and I applaud their willingness to engage with us in a meaningful manner. It was a cathartic hour and fifteen minutes in the Willard Room last Sunday. People expressed their anger and sadness, but also their willingness to enter into deeper community.
It was Epiphany at its best: with all our diversity and inclusiveness on display. Without a doubt, God was present, molding our hearts for the work ahead.