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The Vision

The Vision

Monday, December 22, 2013 — Week of Advent 4, Year One

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 61, 62 (morning) // 112, 115 (evening)

Isaiah 11:1-9

Revelation 20:1-10

John 5:30-47

The city where I live has a vision. Not a wolf-shall-live-with-the-lamb vision like in today’s first reading, but a compelling vision of community spirit nonetheless. Last week, I attended a City Council meeting, where our mayor and elected representatives all sit beneath posters that highlight elements of our plan, called Vision 2030. I can now say first-hand how disheartening it is to see an inspiring vision hover just above the heads of humans who can’t quite grasp it.

I’ll try to keep the details of our local city politics brief. Among other things, our city’s vision proposes that “All members of our community will have equitable access to neighborhoods that are healthy, walkable, and distinct.” Nevertheless, our City Council just voted to re-zone a property for commercial uses incompatible with the zoning proposed by the vision, and inconsistent with walkability and neighborhood distinctiveness, handing our neighborhood over to America’s usual masters: automobiles and big-box stores.

Twenty neighbors spoke against this re-zoning, while eight people spoke in favor of the re-zoning. Of those eight, most will benefit directly from the re-zoning (the property owner, the broker, etc.). One of the council members emphasized the details of a specific project that has been proposed for the site, even though council members are not allowed to weigh project proposals when making zoning decisions.

No matter where we live, each of us is faced with a choice. Will we move closer to God’s vision for our community, or will we step back? If we find ourselves in power, will we “decide with equity for the meek of the earth,” or let other powers sway us? If we find ourselves in weaker positions, will we find the courage and take the risks of living with wolves, leopards, and lions?

Through the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, and through the heart of Jesus Christ, God tells us that the vision he has for us is within reach. And even when we fall so desperately short of that vision, we can be grateful for all those who see and taste and stretch out for the kingdom that is at hand. Surely they bring it closer.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal.  She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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