Even as a new resident I find the rate of change in the New York neighborhood unsettling. There is too much great history to just forget about it. There were and are stories of families, generations, and distinct communities. One finds riches inherent in what was. Bakeries run by the same family for generations. Then there are the unique neighborhood vendors; pickles, suits, shoes, and even silver. One can even tap into an accordion specialist; he gives lessons as well.
It is incredible yet it is time for a fresh growth. One cannot always lives in the past. I read what has happened in the past and I know the cycle must begin again. “Then, just before harvest, after the blossom has turned into a maturing grape, He'll step in and prune back the new shoots, ruthlessly hack off all the growing branches. He'll leave them piled on the ground for birds and animals to feed on—fodder for the summering birds, fodder for the wintering animals. Then tribute will be brought to God-of-the-Angel-Armies, brought from this people tall and handsome, this people once held in respect everywhere, this people once mighty and merciless, from the land crisscrossed with rivers, to Mount Zion, God's place.” (Isaiah 18.5, 6, 7)
The lament and wonder doesn’t just apply to New York’s lower east side. In the past few days I have heard from friends all over the world. Each life is a living example of God at work. I can see Divinity’s hand. I can hear God’s voice. I can even feel the Spirit’s presence. Each sensation realized through their lives.
You and I are part of the process of the community in which we find ourselves. We can be witnesses to the richness which God has given us. We can tell the story and prepare for the new growth. New generations are emerging. New music is being written and performed, just waiting for our experience. Communities continue to evolve – and we shape their future. We play a role; I am filled with hope.
Today is future’s present.
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