Sunday, February 21, 2010

The New Jerusalem - A City of Immigrants/A City of Grace

(Author's note: Today's post and prayer were inspired by Jason Dorsey's sermon today at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. Be sure to read Jason's notes on the sermon.)

My wife and I just bought a house in the same city neighborhood where we rent. The current owners are moving to the suburbs because their oldest child will be starting kindergarten in the fall, and they don't want to send her to Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). It's a common story.

In many ways, you can't blame them. Indianapolis has a broken past filled with racism and segregation. It's gritty. The schools aren't great. There are abandoned properties everywhere. Frankly, it's kind of a mess.

And I love it.

I didn't always love it. It took my pastor, Jason Dorsey, a Seattle transplant, to show me the beauty of the place I'd spent most of my life. Jason's love of Indianapolis is infectious. He showed me that not only was this a beautiful place, but also that God loves this city and all cities. He loves the city so much, that the vision of heaven we have to look forward to is a city - the new Jerusalem.

The city is an in-your-face illustration of the brokenness of this world. Not only does God redeem our souls, but he redeems this image of brokenness and transforms it into an image of grace. So spend some time thinking about the city. Think about it in all of its grit, its pain, and its turmoil. Think about the grace of God washing over the city and redeeming it.


A Prayer For The First Sunday Of Lent
Lord, we are all immigrants. We come to this city with our own baggage, our own hopes, and our own expectations of what life in this place will entail. In your goodness, you meet each of us, and you push. You push us so that we might see how unclean we are. You show us how we have constructed idols out of our families, our politics, our nationality and everything else we have chosen as our identity. You push us to step out of our old identity and into an identity of grace - an identity given by you.

We ask for your patience and your strength as we learn to live with others in this city. Help us to see them as you see them. Give us strength to not turn and run when life is not what we imagined it to be. Help us to embody your saving grace as we live in this broken world. And help us to see the beauty in the grit, the decay and the brokenness that so often overwhelms our vision in this place.

Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer

-Ben Reed, February 21, 2010


"City Of Immigrants"
Steve Earle

Livin in a city of immigrants
I don't need to go travelin
Open my door and the world walks in
Livin in a city of immigrants
Livin in a city that never sleeps
My heart keepin time to a thousand beats
Singin in languages I don't speak
Livin in a city of immigrants

City of black
City of white
City of light
City of innocents
City of sweat
City of tears
City of prayers
City of immigrants

Livin in a city where the dreams of men
Reach up to touch the sky and then
Tumble back down to earth again
Livin in a city that never quits
Livin in a city where the streets are paved
With good intentions and a people's faith
In the sacred promise a statue made
Livin in a city of immigrants

City of stone
City of steel
City of wheels
Constantly spinnin
City of bone
City of skin
City of pain
City of immigrants

All of us are immigrants
Every daughter, every son
Everyone is everyone
All of us are immigrants - everyone
Livin in a city of immigrants
River flows out and the sea rolls in
Washin away nearly all of my sins
Livin in a city of immigrants

City of black
City of white
City of light
Livin in a city of immigrants
City of sweat
City of tears
City of prayers
Livin in a city of immigrants

City of stone
City of steel
City of wheels
Livin in a city of immigrants

City of bone
City of skin
City of pain
City of immigrants
All of us are immigrants




2 comments:

Jen said...

And I liked the part about being "spit".

Katie said...

The weird thing is that I thought there were plenty of good private, charter & magnet schools for Indy...I guess we'll find out next year.