We are living in truly unprecedented times, where to quote U2 in "Sunday Bloody Sunday,” fact is fiction and TV is reality. We are experiencing a culture-shifting moment, where a generation of people will only know this country as angry, divisive, and dismissive of anything that doesn't represent their personal needs.
We can blame social media, we can blame political affiliations, we can blame organized religion. These days, it seems like there is enough blame to go around. What I do know is that how we consume our information will affect our reactions regarding our knowledge.
Regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum, whether you have an addiction to Insta-stories, or whether you've pointed your angst to the heavens over your beliefs, these times are extremely important. These are the days where the extent of our humility will define our humanity. It's really no longer a time for us to sit on pins and needles and hope the moment passes.
Even as there are thousands of people literally walking (and risking their lives) toward our country, hoping to make life better and safer for themselves and their children, our government is pushing back, openly calling them, "very, very bad people". These are people who are fleeing violence, corruption, and poverty and want to give their families a better chance at life. What should grieve us the most is that our political leaders have grown openly hostile towards these human beings. Simply not being American citizens shouldn't disqualify anyone from feeling security and peace.
As a community we need to instead open our arms, our doors, and especially our hearts for those who are crying out for assistance. At City Chapel, our mission is to be a church of the gospel for the city of Grand Rapids. That means we are here for everyone, not a specific ethnicity or gender. We are here for everyone, we aren't targeting those who reside in a higher tax bracket. We are here for everyone, even those who've never read the Bible and don't care if they ever do. If you need food, we will feed you. If you are lacking clothes, we will find you something to wear. We do this because it’s what the gospel commands; it’s what Jesus called us to do. Because the gospel of Jesus Christ is both truth in word and deed. And if we forget one, we don’t have the whole gospel. We love because Christ first loved us. And Jesus said, “all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). So, we show our love to all people.
City Chapel exists as a safe place to rest to those who need it. Our church is not perfect, nor should we be (though we’re trying to do our best). Because we don't have all the answers and we aren't great at everything, we have partnered with local agencies and organizations who are better at things than we are. From HQ Grand Rapids to Dégagé Ministries to Treetops Collective, our purpose is to find help and care for those who need it.
If you've walked thousands of miles to our doors or are a native of West Michigan, you are always welcome at City Chapel. We exist not simply as a church, but as a community of people who hope to make our world a better and safer place.
“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
Written by James Gilmore