A Reflection on 85 Homicides
By David McDanielPastor, Holmeswood Baptist Church
Upon entering the sanctuary of Holmeswood Baptist Church, 85 congregants were randomly chosen. They were handed a slip of paper on which was printed a name, age and date. Not knowing the purpose of their selection, the worshippers sat in bewilderment during the first portion of the service. Before beginning the sermon, I then asked those with slips of paper to stand. There were women who stood and there were men. There were people with brown skin, white skin, and black skin. There were conservatives, moderates, and progressives. There were old and there were young. There were even children who stood. The congregation looked around the sanctuary and noted that all types of people were standing. It was then revealed that the 85 people who were standing represented the 85 people who have died as a result of homicide within Kansas City thus far in 2019. The name of each person who has been murdered in our city name was then read out loud. It took 3 and a half minutes to read the names of men, women, teenagers and children. And while standing behind the pulpit, voicing each name, and seeing 85 people standing, my soul sank.
Reflecting upon the two most recent mass shootings in the United States and the continual crescendo of murders within our city, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and at a loss of what to do. It is as if there are two ditches on the side of the road that lead to paralysis. The first ditch is despair. It is to believe that nothing will ever change so there is no need to work toward change. The other ditch is apathy. It is to intentionally ignore the epidemic of violence that is in our city and country by convincing ourselves that as long as it does not happen on my block, in my neighborhood, or in my church, then I do not have to acknowledge it.
But we must acknowledge our infatuation with violence. We must hear the voices of our 85 brothers and sisters who cry from the ground. We must act.
This will take the courage not only to say, “Enough is enough,” but also to do everything we can to cease the killing in our streets. For when we lament to the heavens, “How long until you do something?” we hear the heavens cry back to us, “How long until you do something?”
I refuse to allow the sirens of despair and apathy to ring in my ears. I am convinced that the people of South Kansas City can work to bring about peace, hope, love and embrace for everyone. We are a city that can release clenched fists and widen arms of embrace. We are Kansas City and we must refuse to allow the voices of our 85 brothers and sisters to remain silent.
Because of the lack of visual, this could be boxed or a line on top and a line at the bottom.