Many years ago, the City of Brooklyn in NYC was a rundown and cheap part of town. The low cost of living attracted those rich in creativity, yet poor in pocket. Artists began making Brooklyn home. They decorated the streets with art and music, turning desolate neighbourhoods into beautiful character filled communities, giving hope to many for many years.
In turn, Brooklyn became popular. So popular that the affluent and art loving middle-class decided to make beautiful Brooklyn home. Their actions and presence pushed the cost of living up and the pocket poor artists out, bleeding the community dry of its heart.
These days Brooklyn is a thriving high-end hub of entrepreneurship, business, and design; yet amidst the high-end hustle and bustle lives a remnant of artists. This is made known by a small, yet powerful piece of graffiti sprawled on a wall saying: “Artists Still Live Here.”
Somehow, despite the growing cost of living, they managed to hold their ground; determined to stay in the city they helped create. At the core of this remnant is a knowledge of what Brooklyn was founded on, a passion to ensure it is never forgotten, and a desire to believe for more in the future.
It is easy to make comparisons between this story and the ongoing narrative of Christianity being pushed out of the neighbourhood. Society has thrown out many of the Christian values which have woven the very fabric of humanity and decided to set up shop selling cheaply crafted morals.
They have bled society dry of its heart. Crime is high, terrorism is rampant, suicide is frequent and divorces the norm. You don’t need to be a Christian to agree that the future looks grim and seemingly hopeless (if it were to keep playing out the same way).
Hope still lives here
Now, more than ever it is essential we let society know that “hope still lives here!” It is essential we let society know that there is a large global remnant of Jesus followers, with a knowledge of society’s founding values, a strong passion to ensure they are never forgotten, and a desire to believe for more in the future; more compassion, more humility, more kindness, more love, more hope and more of Jesus in society.
Being a Jesus follower may push us to the edge, but we don’t have to be pushed out. Sure, we may be in unusual and unique situations, feeling penned in by pressures to conform. Sure, the costs associated with faith may rise, but this should not stop us from believing, sharing and declaring that hope is well and truly alive.
In fact, our unwavering trust in Jesus, despite odds and opposition will itself declare loudly to a hopeless world that “hope still lives here!”
Let’s continue to be beacons of love and safe havens of hospitality in a world void of true love and hospitality. Let’s stand tall as moral lamp posts in a dim-lit moral-free society. Let’s be the rare smiles and meaningful conversations to those used to angry faces, shallow conversation, and cold shoulders.
Let’s continue to live on mission and do all we can to show the world that hope still lives here, and His name is Jesus!
Reuben Skewes is an Australian pastor’s kid by birth, a graphic designer by trade and a husband and father by choice. He spent many years working with troubled teens, served as a pastor in his local church and currently is pioneering new ways to combine mission and technology to share Jesus.