You can’t possibly have missed it, the news is everywhere. Facebook is alight with grief and opinions, the talk shows are full of hype and outrage, and the celebrity news anchors are still speechless but that hasn’t stopped them from sharing clichés and propaganda.
And none of this is about race or racism. It’s a problem, but it’s not the root issue: there’s always a Thing behind the thing. And that is what needs to be dealt with, or the other thing will just keep happening.
The Thing behind the thing is multifaceted. We could call it evil, but that’s also cliché – what we have is a culture of fear and pride, people insecure in their identities and their mission. And as a result they are unsafe.
Unsafe. As in, they might not be safe, but also, they might not be safe to others, either. People who have forgotten they are the Beloved are afraid, and afraid people do stupid things.
The enemy seeks to kill, steal, and destroy and his primary weapon is fear. But his other weapon is distraction.
The enemy attacks, distracts, tries to keep us from praying on the offense against his schemes – and sometimes it works. But if we are alert and aware of it, we can use it to divert our focus to something more powerful, like going from simply praying against an attack to praying for the hearts and repentance of the attackers.
We stop hacking at the branches and start attacking the root, because two can play that game and God’s already declared us the winners. We can do more than thwart enemy plans. We can also cause his players to defect to our side.
We can let people know they are safe. We can let them know they are loved. We can remind them they are the Beloved.
I don’t mean this in the vapid, politically-correct kind of way that throws around the word “love” like it’s the latest trendy hashtag and we can’t disagree on anything without calling it hate. We can and should disagree. We can and should hold firm to our deepest beliefs even if it offends people. And we should be safe to do so. We should be loved and loving whether we agree or not.
This is not rocket science. This is maturity.
We can’t make everyone feel safe and loved. But we can pray against fear, pride and insecurity. We can pray for people to have mature identities instead of just impassioned knee-jerk ignorance.
We can pray safety into our streets like there’s no tomorrow. Because for some tonight, there’s no tomorrow.
We can pray deep and wide: deeply and often for our neighborhoods and our families, and wide and scattered over the intersections and businesses of our cities. In His authority we can cover these places with safety.
We can pray for government buildings, sidewalks, and bus stops. We can pray security into people as we pray over their homes, their workplaces, their driving routes.
Because all of these lives matter. Yours and mine and theirs.
We can pray shelter over each other, flinging it wide, everywhere we go.