Some years ago, I had the opportunity to watch a PBS Frontline documentary called “The Interrupters”. It was about former Chicago gang members who try to stop gang violence by interrupting the cycle of continuous retaliation. They work with an organization called CeaseFire (which has a chapter in Pennsylvania). CeaseFire approaches at gang violence as if it were a virus that can only be stopped by interrupting the infection cycle. These folks are on call in their neighborhoods. If there is a gang shooting, they go to the scene right away and start talking to the gathered crowd. They listen for words of retaliation and hate. Then they try to interrupt the spread of infection of new violence. They start telling the vengeful folks that there are better ways to deal with the event. That there are different ways to live. Many times their interruptions work. They are peace makers.
What is interesting about these people is that they remind me of the story of Jesus and the Gerasene demoniac in Mark’s Gospel. Jesus is confronted by a man with an unclean spirit who is wreaking havoc on the towns people. Jesu intervenes, and interrupts and brings some peace to the community. Jesus, too, acts as a peace maker. Can we do that, too? Would that help to stop or slow the seemingly increased violence in our country and our world? Maybe. Let’s talk about it Sunday at John McMillan Presbyterian Church this Sunday at 8:30 and 11 when Pastor Jeff preaches “Thoughts and Prayers” based on Mark 5: 1-20.