I not sure why, maybe the need to get some fresh air, or perhaps I was simply hungry, I decided to walk from the Madison Square Garden on 34th Street and Eighth Avenue to the south end of New York’s lower east side. It is a three and a half mile, almost five kilometer, walk through the Garment District, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, and the East Village before getting to the district of my New York home. On most days it would be an interesting experience. By chance, last night, late and on Halloween, was scary.
Every type of creature was out on display. The Halloween parade in the Village was finished. Yet people were milling, cruising, and walking home; still dressed as if they were in another world. Creatures of all shapes and sizes. Sober and less so. Clothed and even one wrapped in clear plastic. It was a very strange scene; in many ways quite frightening. I didn’t recognize the community I work in. It didn’t feel familiar. It was as if I was in scene once described long ago; “thistles will take over, covering the castles, fortresses conquered by weeds and thornbushes. wild dogs will prowl the ruins, ostriches have the run of the place. Wildcats and hyenas will hunt together, demons and devils dance through the night. The night-demon Lilith, evil and rapacious, will establish permanent quarters.” (Isaiah 34.13, 14)
The fear continued to grow until I got to 6th Street and Avenue A. As I headed south on Avenue A towards my apartment the familiar began to bring comfort. It wasn’t that the goblins had taken refuge; around Houston Street they were in full force, including one kid seemingly intent on running into something in traffic. It was more that I recognized the mood on the street. Everything became familiar; this is part of my communities.
I wonder if I am familiar with God. It only happens with time. The invitation is there, for you and for me. Today I will spend time; there is no reason for fear with God.
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