Yesterday violence erupted again in my neighbourhood and someone lay dead on the ground for the second time in as many weeks. For the most part I live my life from the space in between Main and Fraser in Vancouver. I enjoy these two streets and the different stories they are telling about the City. However my heart broke yesterday in hearing the account my neighbour told of taking children home and having to walk past the body of a young man absorbed in the darkness of lawlessness.
This morning I sat a few blocks from the corner where he died and reflected on what grounds for violence he and others in his realm have. The Lower Mainland is seemingly awash with those who would turn this western edge of the continent into their own wild playground. What has consumed their conscience and heart? Why have they abandoned the delight of life? Have they been deceived by the attraction of power? What vision of strength have they enshrined? What honour has been constructed that must be preserved? Do they truly want a life built on the survival of the strongest? What lies has the Evil One weaved into the fabric of their hearts?
Law is the tutor that highlights reality for the deadened conscience to recognize that something is wrong. But what’s next? Changed hearts and restored relationships are possible from a Christian worldview through the grace of God in Christ Jesus His Son. Into the grounds of violence God has planted a cross and empty tomb; He is shouting “you matter to me.”
This morning I prayed for our City in the tradition of Jesus a prayer that seeks to take back the ground and the lives of those sullied and sickened by violence, apathy, greed, denial, revenge, selfishness, bravado, and pain. Perhaps you will join me in voicing again the prayer of all Jesus’ disciples:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliever us from the evil one.