Why Call it Shechem
Ever notice some names just seem to rub you the wrong way? Then there are some names that just seem so good. Cain; Abel, Ishmael; Isaac, Esau; Jacob, Leah; Rachel, Pharaoh; Moses, Saul; David, Simon; Peter, Saul; Paul. Why do we think of one as nasty and one as good, even when they are the same person? Naming things is a God thing. He called the light day and the darkness he called night, but He said both were good. He created them both so He would know.
Being a Samaritan back in Jesus day was one of those names that rubbed most Jews the wrong way. Even to the point of traveling around Samaria as they made trips to Jerusalem from Galilee to observe the Holy days. But Jesus straightened out the travel route and the thinking when he said he MUST go through Samaria in John 4:4. He met one of those nasty Samaritan women there and accepted her and her mess. He could see His Father in her. He invited her to share what she had and offered what he had. He was humble, she was relieved. She was curious, he was not directive. She couldn’t wait to tell her friends, he couldn’t wait to meet them.
That all took place at Shechem. Some other crazy stuff took place there for millennia before and just like Jesus being there, God chose to be at that particular place over and over, because of the drama and messiness of it. You see He owns Shechem.
We believe the corner of 26th and Capitol is our Shechem. God owns that corner and chooses to be there over and over undeterred by the drama and messiness. There are still a lot of people who will go out of their way to avoid our neighborhood. Jesus made it pretty clear that he was not cool with that, and so we shouldn’t be either. By naming our Community Center Shechem we are declaring it is holy ground as well as confessing our prejudice. We hope to meet people where they are and be accepting of them; joining hands and hearts in the mess, both ours and theirs.
That’s why Shechem is our name. So, the only question is; are you still going to go out of your way to avoid it?