I spend a lot of time talking about and working towards seeing the continued transformation of my city... and specifically our Downtown. They even did a our documentary about it we talk so much! I live just outside the downtown, I work there, I worship there. I give OODLES of my personal 3T's towards it. That's time, talent, and treasure for the acronyminally and alliteratory challenged.
But, full disclosure, some days it just doesn't FEEL all that awesome. The walk to my car leads me on a path through a daily pack of what must be some of the most unhappy humans you'd ever meet. A walk to the burger joint for lunch includes a regular meet-up with a gentleman who years ago began a journey to freedom ... only to choose old, destructive habits. A decade of decay has taken it's toll on his life. As for our relationship, it bottomed out when he came trick-or-treating in a Nixon mask to my house as a grown man and then I caught him lying about cancer-walk sponsorship for money. It's heartbreaking. I see these things every day.
This week I found and shared a clip of me at 19, doing a comedy segment for my old "Dave Carrol Show" in the Eatons Market Square Mall during a bustling Christmas shopping season.
It sure looks different today. In fact today the church I help Pastor is in this very mall, and while there are the re-beginnings of life-sparks around, it's also the home to many who just come in to sit for most of the day because.... well .... they need to sit somewhere for most of the day. Even as I write this... my team who run "The Kindness Centre" is upstairs in our mall distributing clothing and food, free of charge to those struggling to make ends meet. Last year we were able to meet the basic, practical needs of Brantford family's over 700 times representing about 2200 people. Many of these families are those who fall into the growing “working poor” demographic who work at low paying jobs but cannot make ends meet.
And if I chose to.... that's all I'd see TODAY on a dim, unusually chilly April day.
And this is just the stuff that we CAN see. As for the doom and gloom at the beginning... each Sunday we bring 200 people here to gather together. These people actively feel the hope rising inside them that the transformation is continuing. It's not done by any stretch of the imagination.... but it's moving forward! And where it's not yet happened, we have hope that it will and are willing to work hard to make it so.
The funny thing about hope is that you have to have hope to have hope.
You have to have hope to have hope.
— Dave Carrol (@davecarrol) April 22, 2015
1 Peter 3 says:
"Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."
Those of us to have hope in Christ CAN have a true, undying hope for tangible transformation. But I honestly believe I wouldn't have hope... without hope.
2 Corinthians 4 says:
"You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken."
There are times when Everything is, at first glance not always, awesome. But look closer. Activate the hope you have inside you and see your surroundings through the patient, hopeful, creative eyes of God.
Then worship and work until it changes.
"THY Kingdom come"