The Lutheran shared Kathryn
Tanner’s insights about life in the city with three photographers—city
dwellers, all—and asked them to turn their lenses on places in their
urban locales where they glimpse the Spirit on the move. Their pictures
reveal signs of God’s presence, and their words tell about the grace
Check out photographs and stories by Amy Elliott (New York City) and Chris Ocken (Chicago).
Although most cities have their fair share of problems, our cities are far from being God-forsaken Sodoms and Gomorrahs. When you look, you’ll find ample evidence that God’s Spirit is at work.
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If you believe, as I do, that every moment is a gift from God, it follows that we should find the Spirit anywhere. And everywhere. Over the years, my work has taken me to some uncomfortable places. But those are also the places where I often have found the Spirit to be most alive—in the hearts of the vulnerable, the oppressed, the aged and infirm, the disabled and the abused.
Mary’s Place is one of these. It’s a refuge for homeless women who are working to free themselves from mental illness, homelessness, poverty or abusive treatment—and often all four at once (www.churchofmarymagdalene.org/marysplace.htm). “It’s amazing,” one woman told me. “It seemed like one day I was carrying my briefcase out of my office and the next day I was carrying my laundry on the street.”
These women begin to regain their spirit at Mary’s Place. In the simple acts of human kindness that happen within this ecumenical Christian ministry, the Spirit moves. I visited on “beauty day” when beauticians volunteer their time to do the residents’ hair and nails. I saw the love flowing from the hands of Nature, the stylist, into the heart of Mary, a homeless woman, as she worked her hands through her hair. The expression on both of their faces was one of joy—and peace.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers