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A boy in our neigborhood was killed last night.  when police stopped a car he was riding in, he fled.  police chased him.  there was an altercation.  then the gun shot.  we don’t know details.  all we know is that a young man in our community lost his life today.

Tonight neighbors gather in the back alley, where julius died. we are circled around a small memorial for julius.  A few stuffed bears and a couple dozen flickering candles lie in the place where julius fell. Above, on the fence hangs some flimsy posterboard with penned phrases like, “He’s in a better place” and “RIP julius.” We stand tightly, shoulder to shoulder, holding candles that drip hot wax on our hands.  Pastors from our neighborhood churches cry out in loud, inspired voices, “We serve a god who does not make mistakes.” But this, I wonder?  Even this?  For what purpose is this?

We wonder and we hold tighter to the candles, putting our hope in each small flame, sheltering them from the soft summer nite breeze.  We wonder and we raise the candles together, believing that this life will not be forgotten.  We will not forget.  We wonder and we grasp onto each others’ hands, with a strong sense of connection and purpose:  that only when we truly love each other will we be the community of SHALOM we long for.

We wonder.  And in the loose warmth between our clasped palms, we feel the Spirit nudging us to believe.

Julius

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