Sometimes the message is not the message. Sometimes the message is just the beginning. Sometimes what seems to be the heart is really just the ice breaker. New York is often a conversation. It’s here, but it is here in a lot more ways than first imagined. I find myself engaging in conversations which tell a larger story. Add to this the experience of cruising New York streets on a bicycle. If this wasn’t enough, every walk through the streets of the lower east side reveals yet another layer of the city’s heart and soul. Whatever one sees, experiences, and finds on first glance is never the heart of the New York. Sure the thread is there for one to unravel. Beauty, disaster, wonder, and pain can be found at every intersection. The city is truly complex but this doesn’t mean it is unintelligible.
A story is told of how Jesus asked Simon Peter a question, again, and then yet again. When “he said it a third time: ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’
Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ so he answered, ‘Master, you know everything there is to know. You've got to know that I love you.’
Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’” (John 21.17)
I want to shake Simon’s body and ask, “Are you listening?”!
Yet even as the words form in my mind I come back to New York. Am I listening to the heart of the city? Do I hear the cries for help? Am I willing to sense the thirst to known my God? Will I let myself be a path of hope and compassion?
Far too often I am caught in bowl of deafness. I refuse to hear because I am busy. I struggle to act because I am preoccupied. I sit, idling, because I want to take, not give. Last night I heard the cry of an older lady. I folded her into my prayer asking the Spirit to bring comfort. My schedule today is wide open. So’s yours.
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