By J. Hogan
-Gains & Gleanings-
If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14
I didn’t know Kelly Cody. All I know of her is that she was 28, had kids, and died a few hours after being shot in the head behind our newspaper office.
People were outraged and some did the usual grumbling wondering what’s gone wrong in this town and pointing fingers at the police, the government, and the landlords, but something else happened as well. Some people called for us to become a praying people, beseeching God for help in the crisis of our reality.
I love this development. I have a family member whose 6-year-old daughter was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia several years ago. The treatments were brutal, especially for a small child, and the prognosis was not very good.
This turned my entire family into a fervent group of prayer warriors, fighting what they alone couldn’t change and begging God to intervene. My niece is cancer-free, a registered nurse and the mother of a young son these days.
There were lots of tears along the way for everyone, but we celebrate her conquering cancer and thank God for hearing us and moving His hand.
In this recent incident, one of the people who moved to call for prayer for our community is my neighbor Madaline, who reached out to me and asked if we could set something up. The forecast is for cold weather for a while, so we’ve decided to have prayer for peace in the community indoors at the Faithbridge Worship Center.
The scripture at the top of this article is from the Old Testament, and it is often cited in these days of confusion and trouble, but we often seem to miss the point just the same.
Jewish tradition says the books of Chronicles were written by Ezra the priest, and in this passage, he’s recounting what God told Solomon to share with the people of Israel upon the completion of the temple in Jerusalem.
Today believers tend to gripe about the consequences of the unfaithful, but by that, they mostly mean the unbeliever – a demographic which has steadily grown in our “enlightened” American culture even as more and more become believers in vast swaths of the world.
According to the ethos of God’s statement in 2 Chronicles 7:14, it’s not the unfaithfulness of the unbeliever that hinders healing… it’s the unfaithfulness of those who call themselves believers.
“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land,,,” That’s pretty clear. God is wanting His people to live faithfully, seek Him and quit being wicked themselves in order to fix what’s wrong with the land.
That’s convicting, and it should put us into motion if we really care about our community.
If you’re interested in coming to pray for our towns, you’re invited. The address is 101 Broadway Ave., McKees Rocks and the prayer event starts at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8.
Rest in peace, Kelly.
Rev. James Hogan is a native of Stowe Township and serves as pastor of Faithbridge Community Church in McKees Rocks.