- The shepherd who finds the one lost lamb.
- The green pastures into which I lie for restoration.
- Promises from Yahweh of living in fertile pasturelands and being God's flock.
Don't get me wrong, I think these images are timeless for humanity, in our yearning for sensing God's presence and deeply profound. AND I read recently an alternative image that Kester Brewin suggests may be a force to be reckoned with in how the Church emerges in the future.
- It's in the city where we are faced with humanity.
- It's in the city where buildings and stone and pavement tempt us to feel separated from nature.
- It's in the city where God and humanity gotta work together, in co-creation, to become temporary communities, creative exchanges of ideas and technologies and must learn to find that essential goodness in life.
For me, the "city" can become a stumbling block in my faith. Let's face it - cities are hard places to live joyfully if you, like me, tend toward nature. But removing myself from "city" to "go into nature to experience God" is, in a way, an escape. I don't deny that.
As for me, I'm going to learn to take time to listen for God in the city - where God's full and mature incarnate complexity, mixed of divinity and humanity, cooperate. "Move towards the pain," as I learned in CPE.
The City is the place where we need to be working out our corporate life. The City is the direction that Jesus moved in his ministry and where we can still find him today. I think that The Church, to survive in the next century, can take this complex dimension of *city* and serve to teach us all about finding God through complexity and through The Other.
Then we'll all retreat to lie down in green pastures to renew.
Spirituality is not to be learned in flight from the world, by fleeing from things to a place of solitude; rather we must learn to maintain an inner solitude regardless of where we are or who we are with. We must learn to penetrate things, and find God there. - Meister Eckhart
Where do you experience God in your city - in this moment?