Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Over the last few months there has been a significant spike in violence in our neighborhood. These shootings and stabbings, coupled with a noticeable rise in tagging by gangs and other emerging groups who want to leave their mark, has caught our attention.
The world of tagging is new to me, but as I walk through our neighborhood and see the distinguishing marks on bus stops, street corners, and on the garage doors in our alleys, I get the sense that our neighborhood is in the midst of being rebranded. Tagging feels like a way to claim ground; to stake it out; to take it over--or to take it back; to brand it as yours. And it feels like there are a handful of groups who are now competing for our neighborhood.
But we actually think this neighborhood is God's neighborhood, and if it is going to have a brand, we hope it bears the mark of God's love. So this morning a handful of people from our community walked the streets of our neighborhood. We stood at the corner of 2 recent murders, and through prayer we reclaimed our neighborhood for God. We asked God to make our neighborhood a place of peace; a place of divine encounter; a place where people would collaborate for goodness rather than fight for control.
May this neighborhood be branded as holy ground.