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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fight for Your City

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

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Today I watched the new episode of "Arrow". This show is all about saving a whole city. A city filled with corruption, pain, even terror. A city that is terrified because of extreme crime and poverty (although there does seem to be plenty of rich people there and plenty of expensive restaurants). It is something that many cities in our real world are dealing with right now.

One of the sub-plots going on right now is about Mr. Oliver Queen running for mayor. Within the scope of this episode, a few things happened with that. First, we learn that Queen wants to revitalize the bay area of the city but his campaign consultant doesn't like the idea. He thinks the focus should be on crime. Later on, we find Damian Darkh at a recruitment meeting. He is about to have around 16 to 20 men take a pill to make them more obedient to his commands. Of course, they all already believe that without Hive(the organization Darkh is working for/with), the city can not be saved. Interestingly, Darkh used to work with Ras al Guhl hundreds of years before this and before Darkh came into town, Ras was gonna have the city destroyed. We are still not sure of Darkh's ultimate plan, whether it is destruction or control. At some point, Darkh approached Queen at an event about his campaign and wanted to align with him (not sure if he knows Queen is the Green Arrow or not). We come to the end of the episode and Queen is at the bay announcing his plan for it. Darkh is there in the audience and they stare each other down as Queen says "This city will not be saved in the darkness, but in the light. For all to see."

Right now a lot of cities are unsure what to do. The problems include poverty, crime, fear, hatred, terror threats, and many others. Paris, Beirut, Kano (Nigeria) all experienced horrible events in the last week. Detroit is an example of cities that simply have no jobs, hundreds of empty buildings, and a slumber of sorts. So what do we do?

During the time of Jeremiah, a prophet who served when Jerusalem was sacked and many sent into captivity. He wrote a letter to those in captivity. You can read it in the Old Testament in Jeremiah 29. This letter is often quoted for the piece that speaks of God's great plan for them, but we will consider verse 7:
"Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:7
God told them to seek the best of the city around them. If he told an exiled people, who were only going to be there for 70 years to do that in a city they may well have hated...what would God have you do in a city you love?  Beyond this, what did Jesus tell us?

In Matthew 5, Jesus tells us:
"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16
In this seasons first episode of Arrow, Oliver went on a broadcast to say "I declare my intention to fight for this city." Jesus just told you what He expects of you. "Let your light shine...that they may see your good deeds..." Saving a city isn't done by sitting around. It is done by serving. By contributing to the needs around you. Our light shines by our deeds. So if a city is to be saved "in the light" as Oliver said, it will happen with deeds.

How do we get started? Well, where are the needs? Does your city need more volunteers for a food pantry at a local church? Do that. Does your city need a clothing drive? You can do it. Do you intend to fight for your city? There are plenty of ways to do it. If you are already doing something, how can you grow in that? Is that enough? Is it time for you to make a bigger commitment? Find the needs, ask God for opportunities and take them as they come; just do something.

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