community, spiritual life

Looking for a city?

“Earth’s crammed with heaven…
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English poet
What do U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and the 7,000 or so Central American dreamers who are walking resolutely to America’s border have in common? The answer isn’t a punchline. It’s a universal human condition.

They are all looking for a people, a place, a homeland that is somehow better. They suspect it exists. They hope it exists. And, they are not alone.

We are all looking for a place of fairness and rightness and goodness. This is true whether we are a refugee, a “white” suburbanite sending off our DNA in search of ancestral identity, a political canvasser hoping desperately for a governmental fix, or a young person fantasizing about superpowers that can set things “right.”

In the Bible’s Hebrews 11, the Apostle Paul described this human condition as looking for a “city” or “country.” Paul wrote of ancient Israelite Abraham, who left the security of one home in search of a better place. He, indeed, made it to the Promised Land. But, even that wasn’t the hoped-for city, the place whose “builder and maker is God.” Instead, Abraham and today’s humans, particularly those believers who are operating by a higher law than that of any nation, remained “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

So, where do we look? Where do we go? Paul answered this question, as well. That better city, that better country is deliciously real. It is heaven — a place where God is “not ashamed” to be called our God and has prepared a place for us.

Isn’t it good to know that there is a place of rightness? A place where we are welcome — black or white or brown, rich or poor, male or female, young or old? A place for us?

In this world, our search may cause us to be mercilessly mocked. We might be turned away at some kind of political border or even die on our way there. But, nothing except our own rejection of God’s mercy can keep us out of this perfect city.

Let us search. Let us look. Let us enter in.



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