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City Futures – the Maternal City

May 28, 2010

I’m reading the Old Testament prophets for descriptions of the City and wondering about contemporary analogues. I want to read the prophets, and their visions of the future city, as if they meant us to take these visions seriously in our day, and not relegate them to some far-off imagined future. In this way we are motivated for action to create today little snapshots of what that future might be like.

10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice greatly with her,
all you who mourn over her.

11 For you will nurse and be satisfied
at her comforting breasts;
you will drink deeply
and delight in her overflowing abundance.”   (Isaiah 66:10-11)

Here is a call to rejoice in the city , even if previously you have had call to mourn for her. This morning I know some people who are mourning the loss of library services – the ‘necessary’ cutbacks have resulted in a slashing of libraries in communities like Ballymacarrett. Education and youth services are already reduced in an area where educational underachievement is endemic. Not much satisfaction there.

But in this vision of the restored city, mourning turns to rejoicing and dis-ease turns to comfort at the nursing breasts of the mother city.

So, some questions. In what ways does the city function as a nursing mother? How does the mother city satisfy? What would constitute overflowing abundance? How do we make progress towards that?

see here for more City Futures.

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