Solitude in the City

A few years ago on the cover of Leadership Journal there was a beautiful picture that will stick with me for a long time.   It showed a man camping out with a tent in Times Square.   It was a picture of stark contrast – in the middle of the hustle, distractions and noise of Times Square there was a person practicing solitude.   Perhaps the reason why I loved the picture so much is because that is how I long to live.  I love the city.  I love the people and the noise and the distraction.  To me it is a sign of life and a reminder of God’s love for this multitude of people that I am bumping and crashing into as I walk down the sidewalk.  I desire a solitude kind of connection with God while being surrounded by dozens of people.

However, without a centered focus I know that the city will eat me alive.  I can feel this starting to happen from time to time.   When someone cheats me out of money or the person in front of me is walking slowly and can’t walk a straight line.  Or, when I have been pushing and shoving to get on the taxi for 30 minutes with no success…I can start to feel my face flush and my blood pressure rise and I approach the fight or flight phase. Read More

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Jesus and the Leper

“A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man.  ‘I am willing,’ he said.  ‘Be clean!’  Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.”  Matthew 8:2 – 3

Leprosy is definitely one of those diseases that I never have encountered much, nor did I ever expect to.  Cancer, of course.  HIV, yes.   Pneumonia, sure.  TB, check.   But, leprosy?   I thought that was something left to the Father Damiens or Brennan Mannings of the world who later in their lives moved into leper colonies to care for those suffering.  Yet, now we are moving into an area that has become widely known because of its history with leprosy.

Korah (or Kore’ is how the locals pronounce it) was a village founded 70 plus years ago when an American missionary doctor started a leprosy hospital outside of the city limits of Addis Ababa at the request of Emperor Hailie Selassie.   The area around the hospital became a place of refuge for the thousands of people suffering from leprosy who flocked to the hospital from the countryside in hopes of getting well. Read More