The Word From the Streets

B48

Many of you are living and working in cities. The rest of you really can’t escape the cities, even though you may live and work in more rural areas.

Urbanization is the pervasive reality at the end of the 20th century.

The music of the cities blares through the villages, urban TV programs beam out to the villages, and often even the clothing styles are influenced by the cities.

All of this reflects a biblical picture: The Bible begins in a garden, but it ends in a city.

God really cares about these cities. “Should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city?” he asks Jonah, about the cruelest, most hateful city of that period.

And after describing the ideal city to the prophet Ezekiel, God declares that “the name of the city…shall be, The Lord is There.”

In Psalm 48, the urban version of the Shepherd Psalm, David muses about Jerusalem, his favorite city, “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth… Walk about Zion, go all around it, count its towers consider well its ramparts; go through its citadels (Count its skyscrapers and high-rises, consider its avenues and freeways, its bridges and subways, go through its centers of power and its institutions), that you may tell the next generation that this is our God, our God forever and ever.”

Think about your city, the one you live in or one nearest to you, as “God’s city.” As you walk through it, look for evidence of God at work.

What do you see him doing? Where are the traces of his footprints? How is he reflected in the lives of his children, even though they may not even know him yet?

If we begin to view these cities as God’s cities, places where he lives and is active, seeking to reveal himself, they take on a positive value in our theological cosmos.

Secular? Yes. Corrupt? Yes. Often filthy? Yes. But God is the God of the cities as much as he is the God of the villages and farmlands.

He is at home on asphalt as he is on grass. He is as active in the midst of concrete as he is in the midst of trees.

And since half of the world now lives in these cities, his servants need to be there with him, being salt and light and yeast, transforming these cities into cities of refuge, cities of salvation, cities of hope.

Cities of which it might be said, “The Lord is There”.

By Bruce Campbell Moyer

Dr. Bruce Campbell Moyer passed away on May 11, 2019. He was a retired professor of world mission in the seminary at Andrews University (AU) and served as an associate director of the Institute of World Mission.

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