Here was the report I heard on the news from last week—86 people were shot in Chicago. In one weekend. That is a piece of news I find hard to hear. We all know that the city of Chicago has been the scene of the worst urban violence in the country. By comparison, Nashville—now among the 50 largest cities in the country—had 75 total deaths by guns in the past year. And while that statistic may make you glad you live in Nashville rather than Chicago, let me hasten to add that the 75 killed in Nashville last year was up for 41 the previous year. That is NOT a reason to celebrate.
I recently saw a documentary about Chicago and in that documentary there were retired soldiers living in Chicago who were physically accompanying students to their schools as a way to protect them. And it went on to say that children in some areas of town must walk down the center of the road in order to avoid being considered a part of one gang or another.
I don’t know what has happened to Chicago—what has caused it to become such an environment for crime and senseless death.
But after hearing Junius Dotson’s sermon Sunday, I am ever more convinced that the church has the answer. And, like Paul and Silas, we also have the marching orders to become world-changers. We must also have the courage of our convictions to go and “turn the world upside down”.
It is easier said than done, but that cannot become an excuse to do nothing. How could the church of Jesus Christ enter into the problem facing Chicago? Or Nashville, or West Meade?
Junius was right when he said it begins with “IDENTITY.” We are God’s people. Our task is to partner with what God is already doing in our community. And it isn’t about us and it never was. God’s act of salvation is still being carried out every day in all kinds of places.
What’s happening in Chicago is tragic—but it isn’t beyond God’s capacity to transform. And we are God’s partners in it.