[From new author MeG! Written in Chicago with a heart for Camden.]
July 31, 2013
It’s about 4:30 in the afternoon on one perfectly rare summer afternoon: 78 degrees, no humidity, a barely-there breeze, and slowly tilting sunshine. I’m spending my vacation in an 8th floor studio apartment 2 blocks off Michigan Avenue, where the Magnificent Mile of fine culture, fine dining and couture fashion lies here in Chicago. For now, I sit to play an outdoors piano in the garden greenery of a small tea shop as pedestrians, puppies, and Porsches pass by. The drone of nonsensical noises nearly drowns out the drumming of the old keys. But the playful bright green words would entice any pianist, “Play me, I’m yours.”
And play I do- tunes about Christ, and love, and whatever else my fingers can remember.
It is in my way a small gift to this city of millions. One businessman who approaches me is encouraged by my music. How else can I proclaim Christ as just one mere person? My thoughts naturally drift towards questioning what I am doing in the place I consider my own city- Camden.
How many times have I asked myself, what can I do for this city? I don’t live there or walk the streets there. I don’t drive there except to go to church or Bible study or drop off a friend after church. I joined our church core group a little over 2 years ago with a very brave intentions: I was going to be there and plant this church and lead service projects and mother neglected children and see druggies’ lives changed. I was on mission for God. I was being useful for Him. I was going to change this city for the better.
But changing the city means doing less, praying more, and God changing me. For in my little city church, I find a people who love me beyond my good days and encourage me to turn to a God who loves me even more than they do. I see a God whose love crosses far beyond and knits together any racial, socioeconomic, or generational divide that is present in the human race.
Over and over I’ve prayed, “God, please give us this city,” as though she beckons us with a whisper that says, “Pray for me, I’m yours.” I offer what I can- the only things I know how- a song, a prayer, a tithe, a drive every Sunday, but mostly, a God who has Camden in His hands. I no longer pray for the city to be mine or ours, because if it were, it would crumble to a far worse dust than it is now. No, I pray that the city would be wholly His, by His grace and for His glory.
I end my time by that little garden teashop with a special melody and prayer for the cities of Chicago and Camden: Love IS here, Love IS now. Love is pouring from His hands, from His brow. Love is near, it satisfies. Streams of mercy flowing from His side. Come.