Prayers for our City
"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." -
Friends, this week's note comes from Bishop Sally Dyck, who asks all of us to pray for Chicago. "I am asking all United Methodist churches in Northern Illinois to pray for the city of Chicago!
In October 2014, Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old African American, was shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke as the officer arrived on the scene. Police dash cam video caught the shooting, showing McDonald with a knife in hand walking away from Officer Van Dyke. The video was withheld from the public for about a year during the election campaign for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Upon seeing the video, discrepancies arose about the police reports, resulting in charges being brought against Officer Van Dyke. Now almost four years later, the trial has begun. The city is on edge as it awaits the outcome of this trial; a city that already reels from multiple gun shootings each week.
I urge prayers for the city of Chicago during and after the trial. This is a defining moment for Chicago. This is an effort to address what we’re for as United Methodists, not what we’re against. We’re not against police officers; like all professions, including clergy, there are moments of accountability for those who abuse their office. We don’t wish revenge on Officer Van Dyke; we pray for a fair and just trial and outcome. While this is a trial about one individual who is being held accountable for his actions, it is also about accountability in all police shootings. Our concern is underscored by the 2016 U.S. Justice Department’s 14-point report calling for the need for reform of the Chicago Police Department.
I call upon United Methodists to pray, to become aware of the particulars regarding this case and as you are able to take an active role in peaceful public actions to restore the shalom of God to the city. A good resource is the WBEZ podcast: 16 Shots (https://www.wbez.org/shows/16-shots/55c63c72 -d518-4ad9-b5dc-dd0d841d79a7). It gives the backstory and the day-by-day report of what is happening in the trial, examining all the parties involved in the courtroom. Also, the podcast makes Laquan a real human being, not just a name in the news, as his friends and family talk about him. ~Bishop Sally Dyck