Yesterday I got to be part of an AMAZING event called Go Cincinnati. 6500 people from Crossroads and 20 other churches spread out all over Cincinnati and did over 350 service projects for community organizations. My family worked at the City Gospel Mission.
The City Gospel Mission has been in Cincinnati for like 90 years or something. I have been around for roughly half that long and I have never even SEEN the Mission before yesterday. This is significant because 1. my parents, who had a fine drapery business for many years, provided window coverings for the CGM several times over the years. My dad used to take me on installations all the time, yet I never helped install at the Mission; 2. I have visited the beautiful Music Hall approximately 40 times in my life. The City Gospel Mission is THREE buildings away from Music Hall. How did I not realize this?, and 3. CGM is located in a part of town called Over-the-Rhine. This is not a part of town I have ever felt comfortable in. There is crime there. Crime, I tell you.
Lest any of my sensitive and caring readers think I am about to embark upon a self-flagellating tangent, that is not the point of this post.
There’s been a lot of change happening in my heart over the past four months, and my experience yesterday was another part of that change. I haven’t wanted to be anywhere near the city, gospel mission or not. It scares me. I have known all my life there are needs in the city — homeless people, hungry people — we all know about the needs in the city. But my fear has ruled. I haven’t taken the time or effort to press through that fear, to understand better about poverty and what it does to people. I have been guiltily content to stress about the admittedly small bumps in my daily life.
I got a taste yesterday of what the city is like when a lot of people come together in love to make a difference in their city. And since I received the grace to act in spite of the fear, I was so so so blessed.
I saw this guy sitting in his apartment, smoking a cigarette, with the window open, talking to a couple of guys on the sidewalk outside. No screen on the window. That tableau sort of epitomized for me what it might be like for someone to live in a city. You’re kind of always part of whatever’s going on.
I wouldn’t say I want to live in the city. But I would say that I’m feeling quite grateful that I got the glimpse yesterday that I got. Following Christ is going to be more religion than revolution if I just stay cloistered in my safe, warm, comfortable, luxurious life. I’ve had enough of religion and I’m going for the revolution.