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A Call for Prayer and Peace

April 21, 2022
Colin Watson

Unfortunately, it has happened again. Earlier this month, news and video footage were shared that showed the fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya by police. Once again, a routine traffic stop ended with the tragic death of yet another young, Black man. 

This time, though, the community is Grand Rapids, Mich. This is my community — a community that is home to many Christian Reformed congregations and members; a community where the CRC’s denominational ministries are housed and many staff members live; a community that many believed to be more safe, more idyllic, and more crime-free than some others that have been in the news lately. 

The reality of Patrick Lyoya’s death hit me hard. Like me, Mr. Lyoya was an immigrant, whose family sought a better life in the United States of America. Like me, he found a home in Grand Rapids. His shooting underscores the fact that these tragedies can happen anywhere to any of us. 

The fact that Mr. Lyoya is yet another Black young man who died at the hands of police causes many of us to question whether our society truly values the lives of all people — black and white, young and old, immigrant and natural born citizen — as equally important in the eyes of God. We mourn. We lament. We rage. We want justice.

At times like this, I am reminded that we are called to take our concerns and our anguish to God. 

“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them. . . . For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face. 

—Psalm 11:3-4, 7

All we can do — yet again — is lament, pray, seek God’s justice, and try to find ways to do better as a people, and as a society.

So I find myself asking all of you to join me in lament and prayer as we, together, seek God’s shalom and justice in this difficult time. Let us pray for the family of Patrick Lyoya, the officer involved in his killing, the officer’s family, and for all others who are affected by this seemingly senseless and unnecessary death. Let us pray for the community of Grand Rapids and its leaders. Let us pray for all other cities and communities that are similarly affected by police violence and racial injustice — throughout the United States and Canada. Let us pray for peace and justice to prevail in this time of turmoil and unrest. 

With God’s grace, we simply must do better — especially we who are followers of God. We know that it is his will for us to do so.