Speaking to Cities [guest]

Due to vigorous interest on her part (and certainly no laziness on the part of her husband), today’s guest blogger is, once again, Steffeny Feld, MSW. When she writes from her heart, it becomes accidental poetry at least fifty-percent of the time. She reflects on one example of this occurrence.

– – – –

O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
I will build you with stones of turquoise,
Your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your battlements of rubies,
Your gates of sparkling jewels,
And your walls of precious stones.
All your sons will be taught by the LORD
And great will be your children’s peace.

— Isaiah 54:11-13

A few weeks back my husband citymindedand I went to hear Andy Crouch speak with a group of friends. The talk was about culture-making.  If you don’t know of Andy Crouch, check out his website I found it really intriguing, talking about the significance of cities in scripture and the postures that we take toward them.  Andy challenged us to approach our city with a spirit of cultivation  — keeping what is good, good.  And with a spirit of creation — adding something new.

He asked us to start by speaking back to the city about its strengths.  What makes it beautiful?  What about it reflects the image of God?  And, I’ll be honest with you, even though I love Lebanon (the city I live in) and I consider myself  an active participant in kingdom transformation on this land, it wasn’t praises and blessings and words of honor for the city that first popped into my head.

something newIt took time. To look.  To see.  To adjust my eyes.  My ears.  My heart and mind.  So that I could really see my city, so that I could see Lebanon.  Perhaps this is the practice of cultivation that Andy was talking about.  Since that night, I have felt a gnawing, slow and persistent. The call to see. To experience.  To bless. To come to my city in the posture of cultivation and creation.

I wrote the following piece on a morning when I just couldn’t ignore it anymore.  The Spirit’s call to open my eyes, to see, and to speak to Lebanon.

~

I’m struck by the heartbeat of this city.

Lebanon,
you are truly one of a kind.

Rough around the edges, but a quiet soft soul.
Really worn.

Lebanon is tired and worn,
Deeply longing to be seen and heard and spoken to.

Shhh.
Will you be quiet
and listen to Lebanon?

Deep inside?
Deep in her heart?

Do you see her?
Will you speak to her?

She isn’t proud.
She accepts people as they come.
Any walk of life.
Who is she to pass judgment?
Lebanon is home to so many.

.Healing. Hebron. Mercy.

Lebanon is merciful.
With Her humble lowly broken spirit.
I hear the whispering…

Lebanon, you are lovely.

Lebanon, though you are lowly,
I call you beautiful.
I make you like a shade tree,
Refuge from the harsh, hot sun.
Rest for the soul.

You may not look worthy —
But to those who have eyes
You are a lush garden for weary travelers.

You are a place of rest
Restoring
Renewing

In this place,
forgotten and forsaken,

I am making all things new

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7 thoughts on “Speaking to Cities [guest]

  1. Some new thoughts. Very convicting and heart warming. Again I am amazed at what a skilled and heartfelt author you are. Not doubt the best in the family! I will have to give some thought to how to apply this to “Little Arabia”, the area of our new church plant.

  2. 1. Cool
    2. I take credit for the period before .Healing
    3. Unsolicited opinion: change the last line to be caps for the first three letters: I AM…
    4. Remind me to talk to you about using this for the art show in September

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