I have a standing assignment to take pictures of spiritual and religious buildings in New York. It’s fun. There are no boundaries. The deadline is not for some time so I do not feel any time pressure. In many ways, the assignment is simply a request. Take time to look, remember, and consciously share. Like most things, timing is everything.
One of my early discoveries is the Mariner’s Baptist Church. It is a wonderful old church just north of New York’s Brooklyn Bridge and Seaport. From the style, my guess is that it is from the late 1800s. The stately columns, rigid and formal exterior, and overall dominance suggests that the tiny street it is now on used to be quite different. The poor neighborhood today sits in the shadow of those who could afford to make donations when they were on shore leave. As I tried to look from the outside my heart wondered with sadness what the inside looked like given time and a dwindling congregation.
I tried to capture an image reflective of what I was seeing as the light faded for the day. I found myself caught, watching a homeless person making a nest at the end a column on the right. The street was eerily silent. Even if it has been busy, it couldn’t have been very busy. The air was in the teens; even in the sun, it was still bitterly cold. I was standing in the shadows. It would have been hard for anyone on the church steps to see me because of the light.
I wondered about the compassion that comes from this church or from you and me. Do those in need find refuge at our doorstep? Are we silent? God asked us to “take note: The earlier predictions of judgment have been fulfilled. I'm announcing the new salvation work. Before it bursts on the scene, I'm telling you all about it.” (Isaiah 42.9) You will be the messenger. You will be the agent of compassion. You will make a difference, as you touch others and me.
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