Each Sunday in worship, we light a Peace Candle.

Originally that candle was a symbol of our hope for peace in the Middle East.

In my mind, it stands for more than that.  It shines — dimly — as a hope for peace in Ferguson, Missouri. For the girls kidnaped by Boko Haram. For those killed in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

And today, for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile—African American men shot and killed by police officers this week.

A website called The Counted says that 561 people have been killed by the police so far this year. The rate of death by police shootings for young black men is five times higher than young white men.

With news of Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile’s deaths in mind, with these statistics in my mind, and with a great amount of sadness in my soul, I went into the sanctuary and created a small shrine.  I lit our Peace candle and placed Alton and Philando’s pictures near it. I prayed.

I confess: My prayers were stuttered, mostly silent, largely questions.

Prayers seem hollow these days. Especially if we see prayer as asking God to fix things.

A much better prayer — more needed — is: “God, How can I fix things?” What must I do? What must I give up? What must I un-learn and re-think as a way of confronting racism and violence.

And what must you do?

Join me in praying for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Join me in working for our peace and justice in our world.

I want to hear from you. What are your ideas? What are you doing to confront violence and racism? How are you working for justice and peace? Call or email me. I need to know what you are doing.