Posted on 01/18/2016 by Darren Casper
Last night felt surreal. I had been out of town over the weekend, but hurried back as to participate in a Martin Luther King service at a church in our city. Earlier yesterday afternoon there was a peace march near the church where people came together to remember Dr. King’s life and pray for peace and justice in our city.
The program at the church started at 6:00p with a beautiful gospel choir and a packed house full of ethnic diversity. Within the time-span of less than thirty minutes we found out about two killings in our city. The first one hit so very close to home. My friend and co laborer within Plant St. Louis, Kenny Petty was sitting, worshiping beside me in the sanctuary when his phone rang. My friend would soon leave the church in tears as he found out that his 14 year old niece had been shot and killed inside the home of her friend.
Then within minutes of Kenny leaving to be with his family, it was announced during church service that a killing had taken place literally just yards away at a nearby fast food restaurant. Our local newspaper would later report police were called to the scene of an armed robbery in progress. After the assailant raised his weapon toward the police, the officer fired and the man was killed. Death and the loss of life are always tragic and heart breaking, especially with a girl so young.
As we left on this terribly cold January night, the lights of the police vehicles reflected off surrounding buildings. There near the corner of Potomac and Grand in south city, people had come together to worship and pray. These are tumultuous times for our city and world. The old hymn is still true is it not?
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
The local church assembles to remembers and proclaim the power of the never changing Gospel in an ever changing world around us. When Jesus is exalted, God shows up and people find the kind of hope, a certain hope the world cannot give. The Holy Spirit fills His people among that kind of preaching.
Plant Midwest is centered in God’s historic orthodox Gospel, prayer, and the work toward planting these place of hope, churches in every community, small town, suburb, and inner city street corner. People need hope, certain hope… the hope of Jesus Christ and His eventual return to one day restore all things. Yes, until He comes it is our assigned work to pray for peace and do justice. And may we never forget that every people, every neighborhood needs a local church, one telling the story that there is living hope in Christ.