The pastor exploded at first. Full of fury; brimming with rage.
To the congregation of mourners who filled the immense auditorium at Inspiring Body of Christ Church, the Rev. Jerry Christian said, “We are here today because the forces of evil and a breakdown of the justice system … collided with goodness.”
In a tone sharp and stinging, Christian said his first instincts were to deliver a eulogy for former Dallas council member Carolyn Davis and her daughter that would “lash out at the perpetrator of this horrendous event” — a car wreck that police say was caused by a man with a long history of driving drunk.
Davis, 57, and Melissa Lashan Nunn Davis, 27, were Christian’s congregants, and his friends, at Kirkwood Temple C.M.E. Church. He had known them most of their lives.
At Kirkwood, Carolyn Davis met former South Dallas council member Diane Ragsdale, who Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price called Davis’ “political mother.” On many Sundays, you could find Davis near the back of the sanctuary, Melissa in tow.
Homegoing services are meant to be celebrations, a raucous, joyful, song-filled send-off to a place better than this one, and a healing moment for those left behind. But the crowd in the auditorium, filled with family and friends and familiar faces who have rotated in and out of Dallas City Hall, would have understood if Christian wanted to lash out in his grief. The sentiment was palpable throughout the auditorium, just beneath the exultation — the sorrow drenched in rage.
On the evening of July 15, with a bit of sunlight brightening the sky, Davis and her daughter were driving along East Ledbetter Road when police say Jonathan Moore, 36, smashed into their car, rendering it a hulk of shattered glass and knotted metal. The mother was pronounced dead that night; her daughter, brain damaged in the crash, the next day.
“When good and evil collide,” said Christian, “it will produce a storm.”
Moore, who police say admitted to driving the SUV that smashed into Davis’ car, faces two counts of murder and other awful crimes. On the day of Davis and her daughter’s homegoing service, as the women’s remains were escorted to grave sites at Lincoln Memorial Park near the Great Trinity Forest, Moore remained in the Dallas County jail.
Said their pastor, again and again, his voice growing louder and louder with each utterance, “This too, this too, this too, this too, this too shall pass.”
The sorrow, he said. The grief, too. The emptiness, the fear. Even the anger.
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SOURCE: Dallas Morning News, Robert Wilonsky