Aristotle once wrote, “Man is by nature a political animal.” People love this quote, especially the press around election season. Although, this phrase doesn’t have much to do with politics as we know it. The Greek word for “political” is, “polis,” polis means city. The phrase actually means that man is a polis inhabiting creature. The idea is that man is rational because he makes the decision to live in community. It would be irrational to live in isolation, away from people who can walk through life with you.
I was flying into Chicago on my way home today and I couldn’t take my eyes off the city. I have never been there before and I was disappointed that my layover was only ten minutes. Even though I was anxious to see my wife and daughters, I wanted to experience the beauty of that polis. As I was flying in I was reminded of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem, he stopped and wept for the city. He said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather you as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” As I was thinking about it the only other time that the gospels record Jesus weeping was at the death of his friend Lazarus. In the entire bible God mourns at the death of the “wicked” and it even says that he would rather they be saved. (Ezekiel 33:10-11) I think it is pretty huge to recognize that God mourns. In this case he mourns his own rejection and the spiritual death of the rational polis people.
So flying over Chicago I though of that moment when Jesus looked over his people with the desire to spread his wings and gather all of the people to himself. It is rational that a creator would want to live in community with his people. It is rational for a God who lives in community with himself (trinity) to want people to live in community with each other. In our cities we have many communities, some of business, sports, education and faith.
Sometimes the community of faith is really good about sticking together and that is really good, but sometimes that is all they do! What if the community of faith experienced that same sorrow for the city? What if the community of faith experienced the sorrow of Jesus and went on his mission in their own city, the mission of reconciling everything to Jesus.
What if that was your story? What would it look like for you to have such a burden for people that you gave up everything to see relationships be redeemed? What would it look like for you to walk co-workers through steps to forgiving others and themselves? Really what I am asking is what does it look like for you to love your city? What are you tangibly doing to love the place where you live in community with others?Share