Becoming More Hopeful!
With all the bad stuff happening in the world, it’s easy for me to fall into despair and hopelessness, especially when terrible things happen to family or friends for no rhyme or reason.
Hope is being honest with our present struggle with evil, pain, and poverty while imagining, and working towards a better future with God’s help!
Today I can testify that beauty can come out of ashes, and light can pierce the darkness. My neighbourhood is being transformed, and I’m being changed with it. I have watched the lines between the churched and non-churched folk get blurred as we serve together to make Bowness a better place to live.
There is a grassroots movement bubbling up of common people to band together to share their gifts, welcome the stranger in, and work hard to see their neighbourhoods become places of beauty, justice, and peace!
During the flood a couple of years ago that devastated parts of our hood, I experienced voluntary serving like I have never seen before. The flood did not discriminate between the rich and the poor. I saw wealthy people in need, and receive help when normally they would not ask for or need help. The poor serving the rich and rich serving the poor, church folk and not churched folk pitching in to make meals, clean out sewuage filled basements, rip out dry wall, and just be there for people who had lost so much. Hope filled my heart.
Other signs of transformation are the Bowness run, and a parade every year where we celebrate together what an awesome place this is to live. There is a bike repair shop where folks can gather to fix their bikes and old bikes are re-cycled to give away to kids who can’t afford one. The number of people who give of their time and energy to serve with no pay is incredible. I see community gardens popping up, and this month we are having a neighbouring day where there will be block parties, and all kinds of creative ways of connecting that are simply highlighting what’s going on throughout the year. The downtown of Bowness is being transformed as new businesses move in.
The invitation is for us to pour our lives into a few people and a place!
Crime is starting to go down, and our youth are being given a vision of hope for today and tomorrow. It is becoming a safe place for all. I love how green our community is, and the desire and action being taken to protect our green spaces.
My neighbourhood is becoming a desirable place to live. Young families are moving in, the price of houses are going up, but more importantly folks in my hood are hearing the song of the Kingdom with the resounding themes of beauty, peace, justice, reconciliation, and transformation. God is at work through whomever will hear this song of the Kingdom, and respond whether inside or outside the church.
Has Bowness become utopia? No! Have I been fully perfected. My wife would say surely not. There is still a lot of work to be done. What I do know is that my hood and I are being saved.
I am tasting of a little bit of heaven coming here on earth in my neighbourhood, and in the process I am becoming more human, more humble, and more hopeful which I think is what a fuller understanding of the word salvation means.
I am living and experiencing this Jesus idea of Peace – a total sense of well being in every area and sphere of my life and the life of Bowness! It it the outworking of the Hebrew word Tikkun Olam which means repairing a broken world and healing wastelands.
We have been invited to join the Creator on His Grand Idea of returning this world back to the beauty, peace, and right relationship with God, creation, and each other. Tasting in the here and now the stewardship, innocence, and fullness of life found in the Garden of Eden before the fall.
Excerpts from Isaiah 60 below sum up the vision I have for me, my family and hood. As you read the text below let the seed of hope grow in you by loosing your imagination, and then diving into your hood and joining others who want to see your neighbourhood transformed. In doing so you will be saved!
Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight.
God’s bright glory has risen for you.
The whole earth is wrapped in darkness,
all people sunk in deep darkness,
But God rises on you,
his sunrise glory breaks over you.
Nations will come to your light,
kings to your sunburst brightness.
Look up! Look around!
Watch as they gather, watch as they approach you:
Your sons coming from great distances,
your daughters carried by their nannies.
When you see them coming you’ll smile—big smiles!
Your heart will swell and, yes, burst!You’ll know that I, God, am your Savior,
your Redeemer, Champion of Jacob.
I’ll give you only the best—no more hand-me-downs!
Gold instead of bronze, silver instead of iron,
bronze instead of wood, iron instead of stones.
I’ll install Peace to run your country,
make Righteousness your boss.
There’ll be no more stories of crime in your land,
no more robberies, no more vandalism.
You’ll name your main street Salvation Way,
and install Praise Park at the center of town.
You’ll have no more need of the sun by day
nor the brightness of the moon at night.
God will be your eternal light,
your God will bathe you in splendor.
Your sun will never go down,
your moon will never fade.
I will be your eternal light.
Your days of grieving are over.
All your people will live right and well,
in permanent possession of the land.
They’re the green shoot that I planted,
planted with my own hands to display my glory.
The runt will become a great tribe,
the weakling become a strong nation.
I am God.
At the right time I’ll make it happen.”
By Tim Schultz