I am humbled to be in the presence of a community that comes together in support of one another in the way this community does. The feelings I have in this moment right now are much like the feeling I experience last Wednesday night at the medical examiner’s office. Sorrow for the loss of life, anger towards the unspeakable act of violence, sadness and empathy for Andres’ wife and family. Last Wednesday and even in this moment now I wrestle with those emotions but just like last week as I met eyes with hundreds of brokenhearted officers that were part of the processional saying goodbye to their brother and as I lock eyes with all of you in this crowd I am overwhelmed by a deep sense of community and pride to be a part of community that comes together in vast numbers when one of its own is lost. A community that supports itself even when it seems like the rest of the world is against it. To the officers in the crowd look around and understand that the people who around you right now and the countless other that are meeting at this moment in time down at St Rita are people who are with and for you. To families’ members who like me were terrified to learn the name of the fallen officer last week and were hoping and praying that they didn’t recognize his name look around, these people are with and for you. As we mourn for Andres and his wife Milena and the rest of their family, we must remember to support each other not just in moments of tragedy but we must daily lean into each other.
Scripture tells us in Psalm 34 that The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Lean into the power God’s word as we mourn together in community. God has given us a gift in having this kind of community that is as strong in this one lean into the one who saves and who has given us all the gift of each other. In just a second I am going to ask that we go to God in prayer. To start our prayer I would like us to allow for a moment of silence and we lift up our thoughts and hearts to Office Andres Vasquez Lasso and his family.
Let us pray…. God we lift up your servant Andres to you now. We are thankful that you gave him the gift of life and the courage to use his life as a shield and a protector from evil. We ask Lord that your bring healing and peace to his wife Milena and the rest of their family. Remind them Lord of the blue family that they have them around them not just today but everyday. Lord we pray for your comfort over Andres’ family during holidays, family get togethers and just the everyday moments when they are reminded that Andres’ isn’t there. Allow all of us to cherish each of those moments we have on this earth when we are surrounded by those we love. Lord, we pray for the officers that are present here today, those who protect this city and for the countless Law enforcement officers across this country and our world. I pray that you keep them safe and that Andres sacrifice be a sobering reminder of what putting their uniform can mean. God we pray that you remind all officers and of us for that matter of how sacred the gift of life you have given us really is. We pray for the families who live with worry or fear every time their loved one puts on the uniform and steps into the darkness to confront evil to protect those they love as well as complete strangers. Allow those families member to lean on you for comfort. God we are thankful that you have created a community such as this that supports, loves and cares in the way that it does. Remind of to on you and your people when the burdens of this world become to much. Let us not be ashamed of our grief or our personal sorrow but rather use each other to help carry the weight that those things can cause.