Photo by Diez
Just as God has a clear bias towards the poor, the scriptures also reveal that God’s heart leans towards the city.
From Genesis God calls for humanity to be fruitful and multiply. Not simply to reproduce (otherwise Jesus would’ve done a terrible job with this mandate), but to cultivate life in the widest sense – to create culture, to steward over creation, to develop civilizations, and ultimately cities.
Even the ‘garden of eden’ carries with it the idea of a lush park by a palace. A place dense with life near a kingly residence. Seeds of a future city.
God doesn’t allow his people to remain agrarian, and calls for ‘cities of refuge‘ to be made. Cities with leadership, government, jurisdiction, so that people might find safety and progress could continue without ongoing tribal warfare.
In Jeremiah 29 God calls for his people to seek the good of the city. Not to necessarily conform to the city, or to leech off the city, but to be rooted in the city. We are to be city builders.
The Apostle Paul planted churches from city to city because he knew that if he captured the heart of the city, the gospel would flow out from the city centers into the surrounding regions. It’s interesting to note that it seems the smallest unit of the church was referred to as an entire city – ie. the church of Ephesus, Philipi, etc.
God reveals his ultimate vision for humanity in Revelation as ‘a holy city’ descending from heaven. Pieces of Eden like the tree of life and rivers are still there, but it’s wrapped up in a city filled with life. Heaven’s like an urban jungle.
I’ve always loved this quote by Ray Bakke – “If you don’t like the city, you won’t like heaven”
These are just a few snapshot thoughts that could be unpacked a lot more.