Thursday, December 15, 2016

Perfect City Living

*Written in Spring of 2016. Published in December, same year.*

I have enjoyed our stay in San Antonio far more than I could have expected. My heart was fixated on basking in sunshine by the hotel's pool, but a few cloudy days sent me out and about, and I was touched by the city's life, diversity, and history. Nearly every minute was wonderful.

People love cities...they feel connected with "their town," receiving a certain sense of identity in light of the places they love. There are a handful of cities, now with the addition of San Antonio, that add to my sense of nostalgic identity. To misuse a quote from Jon Mayer: "I got a city love."

A few weeks ago at BSF (that's Bible Study Fellowship), we were discussing the new Jerusalem...a city that stands as an extension of the heart of God. Our teacher made such an impact on my heart by pointing out that a city is a good thing—full of culture, diversity, life, music, art, creativity, community. As far as housing arrangements go, city living is as close to constant relationship as you can get. And yet, we all know that there is risk, even danger, in city living. Unfortunately, when you put a bunch of people in the same place, it means you get the worst of mankind along with the best. 

But God's city is different.

God's city is city as it was meant to be: constant relationship and inter-dependency on one another, constant exposure and access to the lives of our neighbors, and all of it in perfection, without any harm or danger. All of the good, none of the bad. All ofthat culture, diversity, life, music, art, creativity, and community working in perfect harmony to execute their ordained purpose of glorifying God. Can you imagine?

Thinking of such a place, and knowing that there will be one to come, expands my heart with intense longing. Thank God. I don't know that I've longed for His presence and His perfection ever before in my life like I have these past few years.  It is coming. He will make everything right. He will bring unity, and in Him there will be purposeful peace. It is everything. He is everything.

On the other side of the same coin, I find myself challenged by the prospect of that constant relationship. I think back to what dorm life and roommates were like, having little to no personal space, being challenged with the opportunity to live uprightly in my relationships all the time, not having the chance to withdraw when I was over it. Ahhh, those days...full of challenge, full of growth. Do I live right now in a way that reflects my longing for God's design for relationships? Am I pursuing upright living in my interactions with others, seeking to show grace and striving for restoration and unity, despite the fact that I can easily withdraw? I don't believe that God has called us, called me, to least, not for the purpose of escaping relationship. He is a God of relationships. I can't settle for spacious, indirect, selfishly-protective suburban living in my heart. My desire is that God would work out that dorm-room heart in me, that I would be driven to live in open, full unity with His body.

A lot of thoughts for a post-trip wrap up. I'm so thankful to know a God that is in everything, that uses all of His glorious creation, to call and pull me closer to Him.

What about you? Are you settling for suburban living in your heart? Or are you ready to work toward all the good in dorm-room relationships, in preparation for His city living?

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