The City Gospel Mission has been in Cincinnati for like 90 years or something. I have been around for roughly half that long and I have never even SEEN the Mission before yesterday. This is significant because 1. my parents, who had a fine drapery business for many years, provided window coverings for the CGM several times over the years. My dad used to take me on installations all the time, yet I never helped install at the Mission; 2. I have visited the beautiful Music Hall approximately 40 times in my life. The City Gospel Mission is THREE buildings away from Music Hall. How did I not realize this?, and 3. CGM is located in a part of town called Over-the-Rhine. This is not a part of town I have ever felt comfortable in. There is crime there. Crime, I tell you.
Lest any of my sensitive and caring readers think I am about to embark upon a self-flagellating tangent, that is not the point of this post.
There's been a lot of change happening in my heart over the past four months, and my experience yesterday was another part of that change. I haven't wanted to be anywhere near the city, gospel mission or not. It scares me. I have known all my life there are needs in the city -- homeless people, hungry people -- we all know about the needs in the city. But my fear has ruled. I haven't taken the time or effort to press through that fear, to understand better about poverty and what it does to people. I have been guiltily content to stress about the admittedly small bumps in my daily life.
I got a taste yesterday of what the city is like when a lot of people come together in love to make a difference in their city. And since I received the grace to act in spite of the fear, I was so so so blessed.
I saw this guy sitting in his apartment, smoking a cigarette, with the window open, talking to a couple of guys on the sidewalk outside. No screen on the window. That tableau sort of epitomized for me what it might be like for someone to live in a city. You're kind of always part of whatever's going on.
I wouldn't say I want to live in the city. But I would say that I'm feeling quite grateful that I got the glimpse yesterday that I got. Following Christ is going to be more religion than revolution if I just stay cloistered in my safe, warm, comfortable, luxurious life. I've had enough of religion and I'm going for the revolution.