September 10, 2012
Frans and I attend a church here called Crossroads. It’s international, English-speaking, although the majority of attendees are Dutch. The church meets inside an elementary school, the sermons are preached and songs are sung in an auditorium, bleachers and chairs on all four sides facing the inner square where the pastor preaches from a headset and the worship leaders are arranged in a circle. It is a very inclusive arrangement, and I enjoy looking out into the faces of the church, rather than the back of someone’s head.
The four week theme has been “For the City” preached by James Patton. Pastor James, from the sound of things, comes from a Scottish background, so his sermon is already a pleasure to listen to. But the most captivating thing is the perspective James gives that too often we view our cities from a horizontal perspective: as I walk and bike through the city’s streets, what can the city offer me?
Instead, we should be viewing the city vertically, as if looking at the whole (or at least pieces of it) on a map. This makes sense to me…it’s how I’m getting to know Amsterdam. Careful study of a map, memorization of long and unfamiliar street names, and then a hail Mary and I’m off on my bike.
This is especially important for exiles.
Jeremiah tells the exiled Jews: “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters…multiply and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
Build. Live. Plant. Eat. Marry. Multiply. Seek. Pray.
This is how to make a new land your home.