“Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers.Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations. For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.” Psalm 48:12-14
Yesterday was our last community day with Heidi, Miami site director and it was one of the most meaningful community days for me this year. In community days, all Miami volunteers, often with Heidi, would spend time together getting to know each other, getting to know the city, and sharing experiences. As some of us have left early to start next chapter in life, Michelle, Heidi, and I went on one more adventure together to explore the city we serve.
We started the day with breakfast at Coral Bagel, local breakfast place where we had a short devotion from Psalm 48, getting ready to go out to different parts of Miami. The passage foreshadowed our own counting towers, taking note of the fortified walls, and touring all the citadels of this great city so that we can share what we have learned and have seen with those who will come to serve Miami this summer. We went to Homestead and Northwest Miami, stopping by organizations and ministries that are hidden in small corners of places that I wouldn’t have noticed normally if Heidi didn’t intentionally point them out to us. We just drove around the city, talking about brief history of these organizations, partnerships with them, and the people being served through them. These ministries attempt to address the issues like homelessness, at-risk youth, poverty, discrimination, and many others. And, they do this in partnership with many others who not only see the issues, but also the people behind them. They were somehow all connected.
As I reflect on the passage of Psalm 48 which urges people to look around the city of God whose greatness can be glimpsed through the strength and beauty radiating through the city walls, I think about what we have seen in Miami yesterday as just that: Seeing the face of God in the city. Except where I have seen God’s presence this year has not always been the towering buildings and glamorous city lights but in people’s struggles, isolation, and sufferings. In my own failures and despair. Also, in people’s humility, love, and solidarity despite the challenges. There is a message of hope that is greater than our struggles. He shows His goodness and love in these times, offering invitation to join Him when it seems bleak and hopeless. And, sometime it is too good to be true and I hesitate to accept it. But, God uses His people to encourage and love on us. I’m ever so thankful for my brothers and sisters who help me see God’s great call of love when I can’t and His hand prints in things that are broken.