D.C. Chief of Police Pamela A. Smith has had a long career in law enforcement ... and her homily for National Gun Violence Awareness Day shows her equally impressive experience in the pulpit.

Smith, who was appointed to lead the Metropolitan Police Department last year, is the second woman and the first Black woman to lead the capital police force. She is also an ordained Baptist minister.

Standing in her uniform in the pulpit of Bethlehem Chapel, she showed she’s equally adept at both.

Here’s a bit of what she had to say in her sermon to families reeling from gun violence, building on Isaiah 45: “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and I will uphold you with my righteous hand.”

Do not fear: God encourages his people to not be afraid because he is present and he is still in control — despite what we see.

I am with you: God promises his continued presence and his companionship.

I am your God: God affirms his relationship with his people reminding us of his authority, of the care that he has for us.

I will strengthen you and help you: God promises to provide strength and assistance at the times that we need.

I will uphold you with my righteous hand: God pledges to support and uphold his people. His righteous hand symbolizes his protection and his guidance and his justice.

This passage reminds us of God’s unwavering presence, power and his support in our lives. I know it can be tough to find comfort in Scripture when you’re hurting, and when you’ve suffered an unimaginable loss. But there is hope. There is a God who comforts us, even during our greatest trial and our greatest tribulations. And you know how I know? Because I’ve been in places and spaces where I’ve experienced a loss that was so great and so unimaginable. There were moments in my own personal where I wasn’t sure if I would make it from one day to the next.

But because of my hope in Christ — the songwriter wrote that “my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

Can we get an Amen? 


Kevin Eckstrom

Chief Public Affairs Officer

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