Nov 21, 2012

The Day Draweth Near

When we lived in Denver, my children loved to draw with sidewalk chalk. We lived at the end of a cul-de-sac. They would start drawing at our house and make their way down the street until they got too far from home. Our neighbors loved to watch these artists-in-residence and would applaud their budding skills. The whole neighborhood was sad when the rains would come to wash these masterpieces away.

But it is not advisable to use sidewalk chalk in Brooklyn. Because of the plethora of graffiti in that city, lawmakers have passed a law that “any letter, word, name, number, symbol, slogan, message, drawing, picture, writing … that is drawn, painted, chiseled, scratched, or etched on a commercial building or residential building is illegal.” They have even set up a 311 hotline to report this activity. And so it happened that 6 year old Natalie Shea received a letter from the Sanitation Department. The letter said, “PLEASE REMOVE THE GRAFFITI FROM YOUR PROPERTY. FAILURE TO COMPLY … MAY RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT ACTION AGAINST YOU.” By the way, the fine for graffiti is $300.

Last week Sarasota Florida hosted a sidewalk chalk festival. Artists from around the world descended upon this town to show off their skills in using sidewalk chalk to paint 3D drawings and other masterpieces. Artists from as far away as Italy, Brazil and Japan used the sidewalk as the new artistic canvas. I guess one man’s art is another man’s graffiti.

One hopes that the Brooklyn City Council will amend the law to waive drawings of sidewalk chalk by young children. They would do well to heed the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:6. “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” God loves little kids. And drawing outside on the sidewalk must be healthier than sitting around all day playing video games or watching hours of television.

I abhor graffiti. I think it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent. But there is a difference between sidewalk chalk and graffiti. Graffiti is permanent. It’s kind of like sin in our hearts. Once it’s there, it isn’t easily removed. But Jesus has cleansed us from sin and turns our graffiti-filled hearts into sidewalk chalk that is washed away forever.

Blessings,

Pastor David Hook