As neighborhood violence encroaches on Cornerstone, we lift our eyes...

Dear Cornerstone Family,

In the course of three short days within the last two weeks, we had to alter our dismissal routine at Cornerstone because of two shootings in our neighborhood.  The first took place literally within a few hundred feet from our front door, at 3:20 pm, as students and teachers were waiting for rides, walking home, or boarding buses.  How tragic is it that several of our students and two of our teachers witnessed a life being taken?  The second shooting happened a few blocks over, shortly before 3:00 pm, shutting down the bus routes in our community, requiring us to shuttle kids home in the school van or the stuffed vehicles of parents and staff.

As a child, I had a lot of fears - from the irrational (quick sand, the monster under my bed, the escapee from the prison mental ward hiding in my closet) to the rational (the bully who I would surely have to see the next day, concerns about my parents' arguing, lightening, quick sand... which may not be irrational if you watched Tarzan).
To combat these fears, one of my Sunday school teachers told me to memorize Psalm 121 which begins: "I lift my eyes to the hills, from whence does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who created the heavens and earth!"  While I had the whole chapter memorized, in my moments of fear, I would repeat just those words until I fell asleep or until the bully had passed by.
As I reflected on the violence in preparation for our Friday chapel (a weekly service to which you are all invited), I was drawn back to Psalm 121.  Yet instead of stopping at the first verse, I read the whole chapter and was struck by the final lines, which I had long since forgotten:  "The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever." 

 I shared this verse in chapel... and encouraged our students to lift their eyes to the hills, for their help comes from the Lord... and to remember that He watches their arrival at Cornerstone and their dismissal.  As a school, we praised God for keeping this promise, and for the peace it brings to us during this very troubling time.
We closed in prayer for the bereaved families and asked that God would bring peace to our street and neighborhood.  My prayer now is that our students will meditate on God's promises often, for their fears, sadly, are completely rational. 

In prayer for peace,
Derrick Max
Executive Director
202-575-0027 Ext. 104