I had a good heart to heart with one of my neighbors yesterday. We were discussing some recent events on our street that are causes for concern. They involve some new tenants in one of the apartment buildings, and the return of two young men from jail after time served for their most recent run of criminal activity. My neighbor does a good job of policing the corner, and she does not hesitate to get in some of these guys faces and tell them to stop certain things they are doing or she will call the police. She has kids, and she obviously has a very personal interest in what goes on outside their door.
As we talked, she said to me: “It’s going to get worse around here…quickly.” She is only all too aware of the kinds of things the two young men who are back home are prone to do. “I am going to start looking for a new place,” she said, shaking her head. I told her how sad I would be if they moved away. Her kids are some of my kids’ dearest playmates (in spite of a large age difference), and her youngest daughter has begun attending our church faithfully this past year. This woman is the person I most enjoy seeing and talking to in my everyday life here.
The past few weeks, those of us from our church who live on Kenwood have decided to gather weekly to pray for our street. We have planned to begin meeting next Tuesday, and to invite anyone else from our street that might like to participate. It is our hope and belief that God will hear our cries as he has promised in the scriptures to do. We want to pray for people like my friend and her kids; for the boys who are fresh out of incarceration; for the drug trade and the violence that it breeds. I am glad for this decision. I think I struggled a bit with a sense of imbalance earlier when we all participated corporately in our block club that sought to handle safety issues through legal and civic means, but were not spending time together to pray for the very people and situations we were battling.
I don’t know if my friend next door would ever join us, but I will invite her.