”For this calling upon God is the supreme business, the whole business in the mortal life, of the City of God while on pilgrimage in this world.”
-Saint Augustine, City of God
We use a lot of symbolic language to help reframe perspective. We talk about Hope Street as a Greenhouse for People to remind people that we are not the rescue plan, that we are not anyone’s saviors, but instead Hope Street is a place to grow and bear fruit together - protected and in a community that will encourage and prune when necessary. When a person is ready to move beyond the GFP we call it a transplant.
Sometimes there is a sense of finality in a transplant, that this is the “goal.” And, in a sense it is - we are a restbit on the pilgrimage. This is our small part in a bigger journey leading towards a harvest. In moments we all lose sight of the bigger picture. We trade it in for the temporary and “obvious signs of success” - the outward ones. I think what I love most about Hope Street is the continued call for internal change, for a softening of our hearts that enables us to not only call upon God, but to hear Him respond and to follow His call.
My favorite (and least favorite) “symbol” at Hope Street is becoming that it is for a season. We are all pilgrims here and now, growing in community with hopeful eyes upon the City of God:
Father, in travels today and through life there are problems. There is cancer and disease. There are days that seem to stack conflict on top of conflict until we’ve had too much. There are the daily realities of injustice. There are unspoken burdens carried by people we love, and we can feel so helpless. There is a seemingly never ending list of tasks without traction. But there is your PROMISE alongside us, within every situation - good or bad. Father we call upon you in our struggles, and we call upon you in our joy. You are the great promise keeper - I pray for your strength for each of us to find rest in this, to grow in this, and to find hope in this.
In your Son’s name - amen.