From David Chadwick, pastor at Forest Hill Church in Charlotte:
This past weekend, over a period of twenty-four hours, eleven people were shot in Charlotte. Five were killed at six different locations. Among the five was a 7-year-old boy – killed while attending a child’s birthday party.
Cities are dangerous places to live. The only perfectly safe city where people will ever live, is what the 5th century theologian Augustine called, “The City of God.” This city is, of course, Heaven. Only in this city will the lion lie down with the lamb. Only then will all senseless violence cease.
In his writings, Augustine calls human cities, “cities of Babylon.” Too often, they are cities ruled by greed, power, violence, lust, prestige, and power.
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How then should people of faith live today in cities like ancient Babylon? Jeremiah gave God’s people these very instructions as they were forced, by God, to live in captivity in the city of Babylon. What were His instructions?
1) They were to establish a presence in the city (Jeremiah 29:5-6). They were to marry, raise their kids and be seen as citizens of the city. It was now their city.
2) They were to seek the peace of the city. The word is “shalom.” It means full blessing or prosperity. If the city was blessed, they too would be blessed. They should work hard for the city to receive God’s shalom and blessing.
3) They were to pray for the prosperity of the city. Their prayer lives should seek the best for the city.
How does this apply to all of us who live in cities where wanton violence and pain are regularly exhibited?
Above all, we can’t remove ourselves from the life of the city. We are members of the whole. When the city prospers, people of faith should too. But when it aches, we too should ache. In every way possible, we must realize the city is our city. We are salt and light in it. We care about its health.
Bottom line: the 7-year-old who recently lost his life in Charlotte is one of our kids. He belongs to the city. He belongs to us. One of us has been lost.
In every way possible, we should seek the shalom of the city. We should be involved. We should bless it in every way possible. It’s incumbent upon all of us to ask, “How am I seeking the welfare of the city in which I live-especially Charlotte?”
Especially for the sake of the kids, for they are our kids as well.
Chadwick wrote this for his blog, which can be found at www.davidchadwick.org