Pray for our country this Sunday

The deaths of the unarmed African-American men Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police officers has let to anguish, rage, confusion, and confrontation across the land. These emotions and conditions have intensified after grand juries decided not to issue indictments in either case.

Along with you, I have watched the televised scenes of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, and many other cities. Thankfully most of these have been peaceful, and we grieve those that have not been.

The protests are calling attention to a grave problem in our criminal justice system regarding how such cases are adjudicated. The deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner cry out for justice, reform, and soul-searching as to how future tragedies of this kind can be prevented.

Our Christian faith provides some startling insights into the human potential for both togetherness and alienation. It’s all there in the Bible — as is guidance toward the Christmas hope of peace and good will among all people.

During Advent, we prepare to celebrate this hope, and at Community Church of Providence, we do it as a congregation that welcomes all people and includes people from many ethnic backgrounds. The services of this season include well-loved carols, inspiring scriptures, and prayers for Christ to come quickly and bring his long-awaited peace to our strife-torn world and lives.

One way to show our love for our country during these tense days is to come together to pray. I definitely feel the need to do that this Sunday, and I hope you do too.

In Advent hope,

Evan Howard,