Reflections from The Chief of Police and City Guests
The Operation Andrew Group (OAG) and The YMCA of Middle Tennessee set about building prayer all around our town this year, specifically on the National Day of Prayer, the first Thursday in May. There were dozens of prayer gatherings, and five that were co-sponsored by OAG and the YMCA, now serving in their 14th year as community partners.
Perspectives were shared from 18 guest speakers during the “Diversity Downtown” program, held at Bennett Auditorium, in the Southern Baptist Convention Building. Key among them was Chief Steve Anderson, of the Metro Nashville Police Department, who offered a brief reflection on Nashville, now ranked the nation's 25th largest city, and how we are fairing.
Three times a year Chief Anderson attends a conference of the Major City Chiefs Association (MCC), gathering the 73 largest cities in the US, Canada and Great Britain together. A colleague recently asked the Chief why he primarily just listens when problems are discussed from the other major metropolitan areas. Anderson said that "if I put our problems on the table, we would be laughed at, because they are so small.”
So, we are blessed, and who is responsible? The answer he gave is, “you are”. The people of this community who continually support one another and love our city. The Chief shared that many of his prayers are already answered.
As Nashville's population continues to grow, strategic efforts to build churches, community networks, and cross-cultural support will increase. Ashford Hughes, Senior Advisor of Labor and Workforce, Mayor’s Office asked that we keep all, both “our city's leaders and those that are the least of these, in prayer.”
The 2017 theme National Day of Prayer Task Force centered on “His Great Name” (cf., Dan. 9:19) and identifies “your city” as the focus. This focus encourages every city to stand united in serving one another, strengthening each other’s “hands for the good work” (Neh. 2:18) each day.
OAG Prayer Chair Pastor Aaron Johnson offered that “we need to build bridges across the historical racial divide, to help brothers and sisters live in Music City, ...not messy city, where we don't work together.”
There are open doors all around us: north, south, east and west. People are longing to know the love of Christ and how wide, long, high and deep is this love that surpasses knowledge (cf., Eph. 3:19).
We all can serve together to remind each other of that reality everyday.