Cedar Street

High Street ends with a choice: turn left or right onto Cedar Street. On the right, a steep, partially paved section of road with many potholes; on the left, a steep hill, well paved. I turn left.

This a peaceful place to walk. Maple and Oak leaves shelter the houses and wildflowers grow in sidewalk cracks. After the leaves fall, there’s a beautiful view of Besse Park and the tidal area where the river meets salt water. Two of the houses were recently renovated, two more need work. Beauty, decay, and renewal live on Cedar Street. I wish the memory of a death didn’t.

A few years back, a seventeen year old borrowed a family car without asking. It was after midnight when she saw flashing lights from a police car. She flew straight through the stop sign at the end of High street, ran out of road and flipped the car. Trying to avoid a speeding ticket and punishment at home, she died. The priest at her funeral asked everyone to pray for the girl’s soul, since she died committing the sin of disobedience. Perhaps he thought it would serve as a deterrent, keeping other teens from borrowing cars late at night.

I pray the kyrie on Cedar Street: Lord Have Mercy, Christ Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy. For the girl who died so young, for her loved ones, and for the priest whose words brought pain and sorrow rather than peace.

Lord, on this street and in this time, Grant Us Peace.

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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