Monday, May 23, 2005

BORDER CROSSERS. I penned the following piece after working with John 4 ("Jesus had to go through Samaria...", i.e., Jesus chose intentionally to cross a significant cultural border for the sake of expressing the Kingdom). I was contemplating the daily challenges and learning opportunities of border crossing afforded all of us who live in a metropolitan area. This piece is featured in this week's edition of GRACE NOTES: Weekly Fragments from the Margins of a Graced Life.

Driving my car, I cross a border;
with hardly a notice
slice through historic turf
that defined and defied
urban neighbors for years.

More unmarked boundaries
pass beneath my wheels.
In another era they would have
separated white from black,
native-born from immigrant,
rich from poor.

Insulated, I crisscross the city—
mobile, transient, unfettered.
These freeways bypass realities,
offering commuter illusions
of debt-free passage and place.

To one, this passing cityscape
appears an unbounded horizon;
to another it is precariously cut and
quartered territories—
staked, claimed, developed,
defended, abandoned, rehabbed.

One travels in and out of the urban core
with nary a thought (except gratitude
that one does not reside here);
another moves among these neighborhoods
acutely aware of spirit and place,
in reverence for soulful struggles.

One uses the city and retreats;
another embraces its rhythms.
One merely consumes its resources;
another, fueled by its complexities,
dares to steward what one still
seeks to understand.

We all cross these borders;
daily traverse a living polis
layered with polarity and paradox,
pulsating with power for shalom,
calling each to love the whole--
honoring one neighbor at a time.

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