On our 10,000 KM journey from Vancouver and back we went through a lot of cities: Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Odessa, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco.
From the road its difficult to appreciate them. To know them and enjoy them one has to exit and stay a while. It helps too to meet someone in the city and find out what they enjoy. The longer one stays with the “real city people” the more possible it becomes to get into the “flow” of that city.
During our holiday I read through the book of Acts. Its possible to map the movement of the Gospel via people as they left from Jerusalem and went to cities all around the Mediterranean. When they “landed” in those cities people like Luke and Paul got into the flow of commerce and accepted cultural dialogue. It seems that they kept a positive posture toward the city and its inhabitants. Here’s what it was like when they landed in Philippi (Acts 16:11-13):
11We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. 12From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days.
13On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. 14One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. 15She was baptized along with other members of her household, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed.
What’s your posture toward the city or the community you live in?
Love it? Hate it? Avoid it? Live it?
Here’s a recent tongue-in-cheek- commentary on what its like to get into the flow of Vancouver.