The picture above is our street in our neighborhood. It’s the center of our work in our community. It’s a place where we can be present with those who have questions, who have needs, and who have dreams.
This is where we have the chance to look our neighbors in the eye, engage them with our words, and wrap arms around them. It’s also a place where suffering is dragged across the threshold and we must welcome it in.
There is pain on this street, there is hurt. There is violence and death. There are tears in the eyes we meet, and we embrace shoulders that shake and sway under grief. Sometimes this street is a hard place to be.
But we don’t set foot here without hope in our hearts and whispered on our lips. Hope is what we embody by our presence, our prayers, our relationships with the Healer of all hurts. We affirm the beauty here, the growth, and the many good and wonderful things. All of it is mixed together, all of it is part of what makes this street a community.
“We live out our call most fully when we are a community of faith with arms wrapped about a community of pain.” (Rev. John M. Perkins)
These words of urban community developer John Perkins say it all. This is why we are here. Our faith drives us, our call sustains us. The pain we find doesn’t deter us because we bring it too. Perhaps we will find our own healing in the fray, or perhaps we can carry away a small piece of another’s pain. Tragedy and beauty. Suffering and growth. It’s all here, on our street, in us.
This is our call.