Emmaus, PA. I haven’t been to all the coffee shops. I haven’t eaten in all the restaurants. I’ve only met with a few of the pastors. I have only met with one school Principal. But I pay taxes, and my child enters the school district in 2 weeks (kindergarten). And there’s the handful of neighbors whose names I actually know (many who know Christ and are active in churches – praise God!)
Emmaus, Pennsylvania is small – but it is my city. God forgive me for never feeling that way about the places I have lived in the past. The reason I know I have never felt this way before is because I have never known the sense of responsibility that I know now. When the first-person possessive is linked with something, while it could connote idolatry and pride, it often brings with it the reality of responsibility. My wife and children (privileged responsibility); my job (responsibility); my car (responsibility – even if it means paying for the 60,ooo mile excessively expensive job – when I’ve avoided it and the car now has 79k)… you get the picture. Responsibility.
Emmaus is my city (responsibility before God). And as I wrote a while ago, the question has stirred in me: Does my city exist for me (give me good coffee shops, pick up my trash, etc.), or do I exist for my city (engaging it, celebrating it, anticipating God’s kingdom redemption in it)? Does the future church plant exist for the city, or does the city exist to provide people for a church? For the first time ever, not only are the questions powerfully clear, but so is the clarity of the answers!
What must it have been like when Christ journeyed down the hill, set his eyes on his city, and wept for it? O God, in this season, you have made it abundantly clear that Emmaus (and the East Penn /Lower Macungie west Valley region) is our Jerusalem. How now will our life on mission develop in our city?
There is no thrill like risky responsibility without fear. I guess that’s what life looks like through the lens of the gospel when we know that we HAVE seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (through our salvation) and we WILL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (through the redemption of culture and communities – even old towns).
Psalm 27:13 -14 (ESV) – “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (O, and at the time the ‘land of the living’ for David was his Jerusalem – responsibility.)
More on the cultural/societal needs of Emmaus tomorrow… RESPONSIBILITY.