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God of This City: Praying for Peace in St. Louis

God of This City

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.  For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Peter 1:22-23

I live in St. Louis.  I moved here after college to teach in an urban charter school.  I fell in love with the city, with my kids, and with a wonderful man.  Now this city that I love is in the midst of a revolution.

I bet the majority of you had never heard of Ferguson before August.  Even though I live just 10 minutes away, it isn’t a place I frequent. The reality is that St. Louis is still segregated in many ways.  Even before I moved here, people made it very clear that a single, middle-class white girl should either live in “The County” or in certain [white & safe] areas of “South City”- but stay away from the [racially diverse & dangerous] “State Streets.”

The shooting of Michael Brown has brought our attention to race relations in our city.  It’s monumental that people are recognizing the racism across the city, but the way things are playing out is not leading to healing in our community.   In the midst of all this tension, anger and fear, believers must be in prayer for this city.

So I ask you to pray.  This is not only a turning point in the St. Louis area, but for our country.  I don’t know the whole story of Michael Brown.  No one knows the whole story.  A piece of the story died with him, even if there were witnesses who saw the shooting.  And part of his story continues.  What happens now, good and bad, is part of all our stories.

If this is what it takes to wake us up to the racism that still exists here, fine.  But what are we going to do about it?  Will the threats and rioting do anything to fix the way we look at each other?  The way our children are raised and the opportunities they have?  They are just dividing us more.  People around the city are scared and distrusting.  Does that lead to understanding and support, fellowship with people different from you, and positive change? No.  We can’t continue an us vs. them mentality if things are going to get better.

Right now, I’m doing the only things I know to do in this situation.  When I substitute teach, I am loving on ALL of the students.  I am supporting local businesses.  I am making a point to be extra kind to anyone I see out and about.  And I am praying.

One of my all-time favorite songs since I first heard it in college is hitting hard once again.  Can I ask you to please take few minutes to listen to this song, meditate on God’s Word and join me in praying for peace?

Things I am praying for:  Justice. Peace. Community. Love. Safety. Healing. Unity.

You’re the God of this city. You’re the Peace to the restless.  There is no one like You, God.

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12: 17-18

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4: 2-6

Faith, Hope & Love,

Johanna

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