Reflecting on Luke 21: 5-19
If you go to New York City sometime, try to get to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. The inhabitants of Little Italy, Chinatown, the Jewish communities, and thousands of others lived in the tenements high above the bustling saloons, clothing and jewelry stores on Orchard Street― a block that historians say was the most densely populated street in the world in the 1870s.
Listen to the babies crying. Hear the music of the world’s languages as neighbors barter for the freshest tomatoes, or the best price for winter coats. Get ready to sweat as you help Gerta Schneider cook schnitzel in her tiny kitchen in July. Watch Mama Rogarshevsky light the Sabbath candles, and bow your head as Papa prays the Sabbath blessing.
They left large farms to live literally on top of one another in a crowded city. Many escaped earthquakes, famines and plagues, or ominous pogroms that bode of the holocaust to come. They came for a better life, and later generations found it.
Today, neighborhood carnicerias thrive next to Middle East grocery stores and Somali markets. These groups fled their homes also, where unstable nations rise against nations, and kingdoms against kingdoms.
We, too, live in a time of powerful earthquakes, famines and plagues. Hurricane Sandy came close to destroying in a day the very tenement neighborhood that housed millions of immigrants for three hundred years.
We Coloradans have our own flood narratives, too. And Nebraskans have tornados. And don’t even mention fires to Californians. Is the world finally coming to an end?
Do not be terrified, says Jesus. If we all work to heal our planet the God of all nations will secure our lives.
In what ways do you live by faith, not fear?
Kathy McGovern © 2013