Psalm 30:1-5

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes rejoice over me.

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.

For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:1-5

Several police officers and their families were members of the first congregation that I served. One allowed me to ride along with him several times as he worked the night shift in the district that included our church building. I watched him and others handle instances of domestic violence, reports of gun shots from a large party, recover stolen vehicles, and rush to homes to thwart break-ins.

I just got a taste of what police officers like him do, night after night after night, all over our country. They form a tight community because they have to. Everyone needs the support of others. No one else understands the demands of a job like that. No one else understands the pressure their families feel as their loved ones leave every day for a job that always includes the danger that they might not come back home.

I just came home from a long motorcycle trip. Kelley cried the night before I left. She fears for my safety every time I go away on another adventure; she worries that I might not come home. And I honor that by checking in with her, riding as safely as possible, but I too realize that I’m not in control of a deer dashing across the highway or some piece of road junk suddenly appearing in front of me.

So I am mindful today of the added stress being felt by every police officer in our country in the aftermath of the senseless and tragic shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Let’s pray for them today and every day this week.

I am mindful of their families, the families grieving the loss of their loved ones, and the families fearful of what might happen today or any day. Let’s pray for them as well.

And yes, I am also very mindful of people with black and brown skin who have long had very different experiences with police officers than what I have known. People who report being singled out, hassled, and treated with disrespect. Here I am not just praying for them, I am also praying for myself – that I remain open-minded and open-hearted so that I can hear their stories without defensiveness or reactivity.

The Psalmist turns always to God for help and healing. The Psalmist never sugar coats the realities of life. The realities of enemies and foes and sickness and death. Yet he also never leaves us there but always drives us back to the promises of God. That “weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, this morning we pray for the families of the police officers whose lives were taken in Dallas and Baton Rouge. We pray for healing for the wounded and healing in the hearts of all of their families. We pray for each and every officer that faithfully shows up to duty with the added burden of fear and stress. We pray for all of those now gathering this week in Cleveland. And we pray for the black men and boys who have been killed by police officers, for their families, and for their communities. Take us all through a time of weeping, restore our joy, let justice roll down like waters, and bless those who would call us together rather than driving us apart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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5 Responses to “Psalm 30:1-5”

  1. jglen490 Says:

    I am reminded of Aretha Franklin. No, she’s not a great theologian, but she was absolutely right – it all starts with the two way street of R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That’s a difficult thing when groups of people find themselves in opposition and don’t know how to resolve that opposition. The LORD has the answer, if we would just calm down and listen.

  2. Elisabeth Mills Says:

    Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

  3. Sharon Boyd Says:

    I will be sending your email along to my friends. Thank you.
    Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

  4. Dave Morrell Says:

    Amen, Kerry! We have a daughter whose a 911 dispatcher in a Chicago and her husband just retired as an officer in a neighboring suburban police force.

  5. Carolee Says:

    Amen, Amen to your prayer Rev. Kerry.

    For our police officers and their families whom we pray for as they strive to protect us:

    “Be on the alert. Stand firm in the faith. Be men of courage. Be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

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