Faith in action: Colleyville churches, other heroes rise in synagogue hostage crisis

·2 min read

When a dangerous situation is over, especially when it blessedly ends without loss of innocent life, there’s a tendency to move on quickly. After all, if we dwell on the world’s many tragedies, we risk becoming paralyzed in sadness or anger.

The terrorist attack on a Colleyville synagogue may be such an event. The hostages taken Saturday by a British man demanding the release of a convicted terrorist from a Fort Worth federal prison are physically unharmed after hours of captivity.

So, before their story fades, we should pause long enough to reflect on all the heroes who pitched in to help others.

Police at all levels, and especially those who took great personal risk to storm the building, are top of mind. We also hail the many who lent support to Congregation Beth Israel and to the emergency responders and police.

That includes those who dropped their own plans for a winter Saturday to help officers stuck out in the cold. And the world community of faith who, without regard for specific religion, prayed for a peaceful ending.

If works flow from faith, this is what it looks like.

In particular, a neighboring church whose only involvement was the accident of proximity swung into action.

Good Shepherd Catholic Community opened its doors to many needing help during the standoff, as the Star-Telegram’s Domingo Ramirez Jr. reported Sunday. Most importantly, it provided a nearby haven for the hostages’ families, a relatively quiet space where they could wait out what must have been the most terrifying day of their lives.

The church community responded with food, and Good Shepherd even opened its doors to reporters covering the standoff for hours in the cold. Trust us, that’s not always the reaction media members receive.

Colleyville police Chief Michael Miller said Saturday night that his community provided generous support, sending food for officers, messages of support and prayers.

“There’s lots of hope in how the community came together,” Miller said. “I received calls from my colleagues across the nation. … This community, other churches, have all reached out. Food has been brought. Our people have been cared for.”

Many of our institutions, public and private, have let us down in recent years. The resulting distrust in government, churches and business are contributing to a crisis of community. The pandemic reinforces loneliness and isolation. There are real challenges in law enforcement, too.

But Saturday’s response on all fronts shows the best of us. Let it be a reminder of what we can accomplish together if we try harder to follow the most important message all our faiths send us: Love one another.

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