Two guys were shot and killed in Glenwood last week. Tonight, representatives from four neighborhood churches came together to pray for our community. It was an incredible time of prayer – people came together who live, work and worship in the neighborhood. It felt like a small picture of what could come down the line. This was not an open event, per se. Word got out to the believers who are intentionally in the neighborhood, and they came. It’s exciting to think long term that prayer times like this could help usher healing for the community as a whole.
Come, Holy Spirit, come. That’s what I heard as I prayed. We broke into small groups to pray, and my group prayed for transformation. Not for a “cleaned up” neighborhood that gets rid of the problems, or pushes people out, but a neighborhood where people meet Christ. Where they experience grace, love, forgiveness, invitation. That only comes through the Spirit. And so we pray, come, Holy Spirit, come. Make your presence known in Glenwood.
Come, Holy Spirit, come. I prayed that for myself as I considered my own heart and reaction to the shooting. I expect things like this, they usually don’t surprise me. Honestly, I’m surprised that they don’t happen more often. Most shootings in the neighborhood aren’t random. In this case, they haven’t released a ton of details, but have indicated that the victims knew their shooter(s). In a different case a few years ago, a guy was shot and killed in the street three doors down from me. I was out of town at the time, but when I heard the news, I was not surprised. The guy clearly lived an “active” lifestyle and made no effort to make friends on the block. While I was sad to hear the news, I realized tonight looking back that I wasn’t necessarily sad for him. I was sad for the neighborhood, sad for my neighbors, and sure, sad for him in a semi-disconnected “loss of a young life” kind of way. But that’s it. Tonight I pray, come, Holy Spirit, come. Break my heart. It should be no less sad when a criminal dies than when a child does. His life carries no less weight than the child’s. The stakes are high. The impact is great. The young man who was gunned down those few years ago was valuable, regardless of his life choices. He mattered. And these two young men who died last week, they were valuable, they mattered.
Come, Holy Spirit, come. Help us to see the value in our neighbors before death. And especially help us see it after. Don’t allow us to check out when they do. Help us find meaning in their passing, meaning that points people to you. Meaning that wakes up our young people to their choices. Meaning that draws parents back to you. Meaning that reminds us of the incredible sacrifice you made. A sacrifice that is valuable enough, meaningful enough to redeem and restore the most broken of lives.
Come, Holy Spirit, come. Be our guide, our comforter, our reason and our redeemer.