“If there’s one thing that characterizes our modern world, it’s that people don’t have time for each other. We rush from one activity to the next; we’re overcommitted, overscheduled, frenzied and worn out.” said Andi Ashworth in Real Love for Real Life: The Art of Work and Caring. “If we want our lives to reflect the truth that people matter, we must live intentionally toward that end.”
Everywhere we experience this frenzy and the city of Phoenix is no exception. As Christians, are our lives any different? Do we rush past people around us on our way to scheduled ministry? Do we miss opportunities to look and see the stories of those around us? Do we live with any intentionality to communicate our belief that each person bears the image of our Creator?
Eugene Peterson described how his wife saw her vocation as “living at the intersection of human need and God’s grace, inhabiting a community where men and women who didn’t fit were welcomed, where neglected children were noticed, where the stories of Jesus were told, and people who had no stories found that they did have stories, stories that were part of the Jesus story.”
I had the opportunity to meet an amazing couple living in the northwest valley of Phoenix who seek to embody this, who desire to listen to the stories of their neighbors and see them become a part of the Jesus story. While their vision is big, their faithful and genuine care for their neighbors is often unglamorous.
But the team at Christianity Today has started a multi-year project to highlight the stories of believers like this couple, who are seeking to live out their faith for the good of their neighbors and the city. Even simple acts of caring, adding beauty or considering the needs of others as greater than our own can contribute to the flourishing of our cities. What better way is there to shine in darkness? Or to preserve as salt? To live out the call of Jeremiah 29:7, “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile”? The ‘This is our City’ project seeks to tell the stories of “how Christians are responding to their cities’ particular challenges with excellence, biblical faith, and hope.”
Read the story I wrote about the Priebes for ‘This is our City’ here