The streets of Skid Row are dangerous. Life is not always respected. We want them to know that every life is worth respecting.
This week we wanted to set that example so we rallied some of the men in the recovery program to meet with another pastor and our local police representative at the corner of 6th & San Julian just two blocks from the mission to pay our respects for a lost soul. That is the site of the fatal stabbing of a young man who was living on the street.
We gathered for the purpose of holding a Memorial Service for him. Like so many who live on the streets of Skid Row, he was disconnected from his family. Police could not inform his family because they don’t know who or where they are living.
Life should be respected so we displayed that truth by holding the only memorial service this young man will have… on the street corner where someone took his life.
While we were singing and reading the scripture a lady from a nearby tent joined us. After we finished she asked if we would pray for another street friend of hers who lost their life at that same spot a while back. Then she told us about another street dweller who died across the street within the last few months. She told us a little bit about them and we memorialized their lives as well.
There was an older lady in a wheelchair within the sound of our voice and one of the men praying included her in our prayer. She smiled and nodded by head to acknowledge her appreciation. Then we all laid hands on Officer Joseph to pray for his safety and positive influence for Christ on the streets of this city. Upon hearing “amen”, the officer thanked us and said, “I really needed that”.
Many Christians are familiar with the verses in Jeremiah 29:11-12 about the plans God has for us to bless us and give us a future and a hope. These three people no longer have a future or a hope here on earth. The deadly combination of poverty, drugs, and violence snuffed it out.
However, if you read in that same chapter in the paragraph just before verses 11-12 the Lord’s prophet calls us to “seek the welfare of the city” and to “pray to the Lord on its behalf." We did that yesterday… but as we continue to pray for the city I specifically pray that we don’t have a reason to return to that same street corner for any more memorial services.
Will you commit to praying for the city? Our urban community in Los Angeles has over 55,000 people experiencing homelessness tonight with the highest concentration of homelessness in the United States on the streets of Skid Row surrounding the mission.
Los Angeles needs our prayers… Skid Row need our prayers… the disconnected people sleeping on the sidewalk tonight on the corner of 6th and San Julian need our prayers… and even the man in prison facing first degree murder charges for this senseless crime needs our prayers… because EVERY LIFE is worth respecting and restoring.