I think a bunch of you are already planning on going to the Shalom House Festival tonight at 2007 Frankford Ave (6:30-8:30, btw-that’s before Lost starts).
Besides dinner and learning more about who Shalom House is (and what they do), there will be time to share experiences about violence. I hope that you might feel okay sharing your story-whether it turned out well yet or not. Here’s one of my Philadelphia violence experiences.
The first time I was around 4th & Jefferson (in 1999 for psalters practice), Joey Getz and I went to the corner store for a Sunny D break. While waiting in line, a man bum rused the cashier, hitting him in the face with the flat end of a pistol. Everybody (6 or so of us) hit the floor immediately.
My first thought was “I hope he doesn’t rob me, too”-which is kind of embarrassing. Then I hoped that he didn’t shoot anyone, especially Joey.
The robber left, and as soon as he was gone-so was everyone else in the store-with their items that they no longer were going to purchase. Without really knowing why, I put back my Sunny D and asked the cashier if he was okay. He had a trickle of blood coming down from his temple. He was dialing 911 and said he was fine, and that we didn’t need to wait around as witnesses or anything.
I’m not sure it worked out good, yet. A few months later several of us began a semi-intentional household at 5th & Girard, including a psalters practice room. Now I have 10 friends living less than a full block from the store.
I’m not sure what would be a good end to this story. I did see Jesus move in towards the hurt and the danger, I saw the casting out of fear as I literally moved closer to where such an event happened. Sometimes I wonder if I know the guy who did it or have seen him and don’t even know it.
(If that was you, thanks for not shooting anyone that day. I hope you are in a better place now. I’d love to meet up sometime and talk if you’re up for it.)
Here is a message that I sent to the Circle of Hope cell leaders this morning. I hope you might be encouraged, too.
Let’s begin this week praying for the peacemakers.
Jesus, during the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5) “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Like the others on the list, being a peacemaker is not easy. Even as a church heeding the call to make peace, we have called out a group to energize us to lead the way and connect us to the world wide peace movement-Shalom House.
My thoughts wandered as I contemplated peacemaking this morning, and of course the melody and words to “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace” came to mind. I got caught on the line “it is in pardoning that we are pardoned” because Martha & I wanted Schindler’s List last week. Amon Göth (director of the concentration camp) in the film flirted with Shindler’s concept of real power-the power to pardon. It was quite unnatural for him to say “I pardon you”, so much that he needed to practice in the mirror.
When we pray for peacemakers, we are praying that we might participate in God’s forgiveness-both receiving and giving. See if you can pardon something this morning-and let God’s pardon fill that space that you make.
Prince of Peace,
May we be emptied of all which would block us from receiving your healing grace and forgiveness in us.
Empower your children, the peacemakers, to remove obstacles in the world to your peace:
Be they inner walls, painful wounds, systems of injustice, or minsunderstandings.
Make us one with You in love,
And draw us into your generative and reproducing cycle of forgiveness.
Lots of things coming to a good end lately:
The 2007 Frankford renovation.
The college semester (one more assignment and final).
Lots of good things beginning:
Wed night baseball
Shalom House Festival (May 13, 6:30pm at 2007 Frankford)
The Discerning Team has met twice about the next church plant.
Composting in the backyard, getting ready for our little garden (Japanese cukes, cilantro, some flowers already going)
I also managed to sprain my ankle during the first inning of the first game of the year. I go to a specialist tomorrow to see how bad the damage is. Today was the first day that the swelling went down, that’s encouraging.