This past weekend the tragic news of the murder of officers Ramos and Liu from the 84th precinct sent shockwaves of emotion throughout the city. 

The following morning I was scheduled to give our closing message (see video above) in Forefront's Advent series on... wait for it... the topic of "peace." 

The universe, it seems is not without a sense of irony. 

Before I made it to church that morning, I found myself in Starbucks, putting creamer in my coffee next to two patrolmen. I didn't know what to say, as I usually don't talk to people next to me that are doctoring their coffees. But with all that had happened on Saturday, I felt like I should.

I simply said, "Good morning officers. I just wanted you to know that our church will be praying for you this morning during our worship."

When I said, "Good morning," their faces looked a bit panicked. They probably didn't know whether I'd curse them for Ferguson and Garner or pity them for the shootings on Saturday. When I said that we were praying for them, their shoulders relaxed. One of them extended his hand and said, "Thank you. Thank you very much."

That same morning as I walked up the steps from the basement of the Gramercy Theater toward the stage I was sweating like crazy, very nervous that I wouldn't handle the topic as I should.

How does one say something about peace when your city is being divided by violence?

As I adjusted my microphone, a question entered my mind. 

"When is there a better time to talk about peace than in the midst of violence?"

I suppose that's true. 

This whole situation is like a powder keg. It's loaded in every way. A lot of people are in the wrong. A lot of people are in the right. But the voices of reason and compassion at the center who choose to stay on point have it right. If the situation turns us against each other, the evil in this world has already won.

A friend of mine, Councilman Jared Rice, puts it perfectly in one of his posts on the matter, when he says:

The way this battle is won is by an increase of peace. Responding to violence with more violence, only creates... well... more violence. We overcome darkness with light, not with more darkness. 

Our community will continue to pray for all that is going on, for the police department, for the Ramos family, for the Liu family, for the Garner family, and for the Brown family. We will pray for all of those protesting in peace.

Along with our prayers we are committed to peaceful actions as a community. 

Below, I'm including an affirmation that our church read aloud together on Sunday that you may want to read each day before you leave your home for work, school, etc. during the midst of this crisis.

This is how peace comes. Will you join us in this?

When we share another person's pain, or offer a comforting ear to a friend in need,

We are the light of the world.

When we give bread to the hungry, or support ways to house the homeless,

We are the light of the world.

When we fight temptations to wrong-doings within ourselves, and we treat our neighbors with respect,

We are the light of the world.

When we try to overcome differences with understanding, and solve conflict with peaceful means,

We are the light of the world.

When we look for the good in other people, in ourselves,

We are the light of the world.

When we do not stay quiet in the face of prejudice, but speak our minds firmly and gently,

We are the light of the world.

When we fight despair within ourselves and side with hope,

We are the light of the world.

When we use our powers justly and in service of love for humanity,

We are the light of the world.

We are the light of the world.