Pastoral Reflection 8.23.15
Why Cities Matter to God
God has a heart for cities. The reason we know this truth is that cities are full of people and God loves people. God doesn’t hate the rural areas but he has a special heart for the cities because of the concentration of people.
Since people are concentrated in cities, cities are where we see the best and the worst of humanity. Cities are full of amazing things like art, universities, hospitals, parks, music, culture, and more but they are also full of injustice, poverty, addictions, and hopelessness. All of the good we see is what God created humanity to do but all of the bad reflects the brokenness that sin has brought in our world.
In the twentieth century, Christians responded to the city predominantly in one of two ways. One response was to pack up and move to the suburbs where it is cheaper, safer, roomier, and more culturally homogenous. The other response was to stay in the city but soften (or disregard altogether) the bible’s teachings that the city finds controversial, distasteful, or regressive. The first abdicates the church’s responsibility to take the gospel to people in the city, the latter abdicates the gospel while remaining in the city. Neither of these responses reflects God’s mission to redeem a people for himself and for his name to be glorified in the city.
The only answer for the brokenness in cities, including Boston, is the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ lived out and proclaimed by the church. Christ’s death and resurrection reconciles people to God and to each other in a way that nothing else can. When people are restored to God they find their true purpose in life and a deep, familial relationship is created with other Christ followers. This family is the church and it is a smaller city within the city. It is God’s people sharing life together and on mission with Jesus to see the broken healed, those in bondage set free, and the wayward sons and daughters brought home.
As we move into the fall we are diving into the book of Nehemiah in our Sunday gatherings. Nehemiah is an Old Testament story of a people called to rebuild a city for the glory of God and the good of the city. They faced opposition, delays, and distractions but they remained faithful to the task and they saw God move. I’m looking forward to going through this book together as a church. As we prepare, please consider reading through Nehemiah, praying for the series and for our great city.