The other night my family and I spent a few hours at Town Field in Dorchester enjoying ‘National Night Out’. It was a wonderful time of free food and entertainment, plenty of give-aways from community action groups and great interactions between neighbors. Our community is regularly in the news for all the wrong reasons; it was good to be together for all the right ones. What better way to spend a summer evening than having a hot dog and some chocolate ice cream while being serenaded by the sounds of children’s laughter.
I am occasionally asked why I live and serve in Boston. The simple answer is that God loves the city. Jesus spent a great deal of time in the city, the apostles spent a great deal of time in the city and a majority of the New Testament letters are addressed to the churches in the cities. Whether it was Jerusalem, Rome or Corinth, the city was the center of the Christian faith. Jesus, Peter and Paul taught and performed miracles in the cities. A number of the great evangelistic moments in the early church took place in the city: Peter’s Pentecost message in Jerusalem and Paul’s defense of the gospel in Athens. God loves the city.
Because of their size and the services available, cities draw people from every strata of our society. There are people in the neighborhood of Calvary Community Church that have great financial needs and some who have great financial resources. There are people have lived here for generations and some who are new to the country. There are people who embrace a faith system and some who are atheists. There are people who hold advanced degrees and some who haven’t graduated High School. There are some who are antagonistic to the things of God and some who embrace them.
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” Acts 18:9-10 (NIV)
Dorchester is a great place to serve the Lord. God has many people in this city. Some of God’s people have heard the truth and some are here to hear the truth (Paul was told to keep on speaking). Some of God’s people have been equipped to protect and preserve the ministry of the gospel (Paul was not going to be harmed due, in part, to the presence of God’s people). God’s people are sometimes hard to distinguish, as it is a class that cannot be quantified: homeless, titled, clean-shaven and scraggly – God’s children can be found anywhere. We may not all go to the same place to worship or agree on every secondary doctrinal issue, but there are a number of brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the city and once in a while God blesses us when our paths cross in a park or schoolyard or grocery store.
So, if you happen to make your way into the city, don’t be surprised to find a kindred spirit and don’t be surprised where you find them.