Today’s daily reading for me had a part of the prayer that really stuck with me throughout the day. In the prayer, it said:
“Especially we thank you for…those who provide for public safety and well-being…especially we pray for…those in positions of authority over others.”
As I prayed those words this morning, I thought of how those who protect our streets, our homes, our country, and our world are so often out of the public eye until something goes wrong. The picture here was taken of the funeral procession of fire trucks a few weeks ago after Cincinnati firefighter Daryl Gordon was killed in the line of duty. This picture captures for me how a lot of the time, we don’t think about them – they are not sharp and clear in our minds – even when we expect them to be sharp and clear and perfect in their duties.
Police officers have been in the news a lot in recent months after the police violence, especially against African-Americans. While I cannot speak to the specifics of what happened in every circumstance (and happens in many circumstances that don’t get caught on video or make the news), it is clear that there are issues that need to be dealt with. At the same time, because of the actions of a few, we have to remember that those actions do not always reflect the whole. In 2008, there were just under 800,000 sworn personnel in law enforcement – Not every one of those 800,000 is represented by the actions of a few. Its also important to call out that in 2014, 120 police officers were killed in the line of duty with 150 killed on average each year over the last 10 years.
So, today, I pray for the police, the firefighters, the soldiers who serve to protect us. I pray for them to have the courage necessary to do the jobs that they have sworn to do. I pray that they have the wisdom necessary to make decisions that most of us won’t ever have to make. I pray that those decisions (often made in a split second) are ones that are ones of justice and following the procedures that are laid out. I pray that they can be protected from the violence of others or the violence that our world brings. I pray that we can come to a place in our country where we don’t see them blurry as in this picture but see them and remember them each day. And I pray that we can be in a place where the divisions that do exist can be broken down.