Sunday, March 30, 2014

How do you deal with “Shattered Peace”?

On March 26th, this is the terrible thing that happened….

After spending two hours cleaning up the hundreds of pieces of broken glass from inside my car, an amazing thing happened on the way to work that day. The same thing happened again the next day when I picked the car up from Safelite with new glass filling the hole.

The previous Sunday, Pastor Shawn's message was titled, "Known for Love: Love the City". This was a crucial verse from the message:

"And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace." - Jeremiah 29:7

I wouldn't be human if during the two hours, while I cleaned out my car, I didn't think about what caused us to move here in 2005. If I didn’t think about the violence we faced when we decided it was time to move away from the city. I started to think about what happened then in context of what happened yesterday. Even though it was nowhere near as bad, I thought, what if this leads to us moving away again. Further away.

Both of those times mentioned above, when I turned on the car to go, the same song was playing on Saint Louis' newest radio station, Boost 101.9 FM. It was Chris Tomlin's "God of this City". Only it wasn't. It was Chris' song, but being mixed into a rap song. After Chris finished singing, "Greater things have yet to come, And greater things are still to be done in this City," this "unknown to me" rapper was saying, "YEAH, That's what we praying for..." I'd NEVER heard this song before, I didn't even know who this rapper was the first time I heard it.

So, a couple hours later, I called Boost to find out who this artist was. The DJ told me his name was "Thi'sl", which I repeated as though he was saying a foreign word. Without prompting from me, he told me, "He's from Saint Louis."

I've been looking for the lyrics to the rap, but can't find them written out. Just a few "videos" of the song. And information about "Thi'sl", who apparently in 2011, started a blog about rebuilding Saint Louis: He recorded "Greater City" in 2011 as part of kicking off his "REbuild: STL" project. Here's the song:

The first time I heard it, as I was driving my car with a broken window, away from my home. It slowly hit me as I realized what was on the radio. It was a moment, God was talking to me.

I prayed for my city. I prayed for the person or persons who intruded into my car.

The second time I heard it, as I was driving my car with a new window, I thought, there is no way this is just coincidence. Just like there is a reason I am living in Saint Louis, there was a reason I was hearing this song again, at just that moment.

Just like those hundreds of pieces of broken glass were replaced with one whole piece of new glass, God can take the thousands of broken souls in our city and replace them, make them whole again, and make them shiny and new....

On March 27th, THAT is the amazing thing that happened....

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. - John 13:35