A Prayer for Jackson, MI

Urban Jackson is built on dividing lines

Severed by roads that hold back

The Bride of Christ from embodying herself

In her truest form:

A multi-ethnic beauty that refuses

The socio-economic boundaries

That society declares “must exist”

“No” rebukes our King

For he is just as much for them as for you

He is no respecter of persons

He shows no partiality

Our dividing lines are our own

Do not staple them to the cross

For the blood that drips from that tree

Is enough to cover

Anyone the world denies

Friends and enemies alike

For when we serve the poor and powerless

We serve Jesus

And if we truly serve Jesus

Then we must serve the poor

And if we don’t

Then where is our Lord?

How can we see him

If we do not behold his face

We serve not for fresh media

To post to impress

But we serve so that the heart of God

Might be more deeply impressed upon our

Already-but-not-yet resurrected bodies

A spiritual/physical hybrid

Of the new creation making its way

Into the urban landscaping of this Jackson

We call home

So Let the Jackson Church rise and become

Heaven on a moving truck

Not moving in to gentrify

But to diversify

Not making space for more Christians

But redeeming space for new Christians

Right here in our own sector

May we walk across the dividing lines

That try to hold us back from

Being what Christ calls the church to be.

Our neighbor’s drunkenness

Or heroin addiction

Or outdoor yelling match

Or frequent gun shots

Make them no less a child of God in waiting

For Christ has paused this long

So that more might be saved

And if we look at Jackson with those eyes

We will love our neighbors as ourselves

And raise up disciples

In the least expected places

Let the church acknowledge

Both her own scars

And the scars she’s inflicted on others

So forgiveness might unify

And “peace that is no peace”

Might grow into the spiritual fruit

Of peace that passes understanding

Lay down your anger

Knock down the walls that keep you stunted

Let the Spirit free you from your bondage

So that you may help him

do the same for others

For He has come to set captives free

Not to create prisoners

He has come to liberate

Not to lock up

He has come with a life-abundant sentence

Not a life-sentence

So let him more deeply into your life

That He might break you out into his

May Jackson be stifled no more by apathy

But instead, allow the utopia of Pentecost

To pour out of our mouths and actions

Like tongues of fire, love and praise

That provision would be met for the poor

Through the hands of the Spirit

Made manifest in the metamorphosis

Of transformed Christians

That allow Heaven into every fiber

So that our city may be renewed

By Christ-likeness

May Heaven and Jackson meet

Like a sloppy wet kiss

May we have the audacity

To dream big enough

To try hard enough

To serve low enough

And to suffer as necessary

For we are called to crosses

Not penthouses

And as it ends up,

Crosses have a way of changing the world

May we not worship without expectation

May we not pray without action

And may we not return home

Without mission

Holy Spirit, fill your church in Jackson

That we might reap a harvest

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