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The living treasure of the city



The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them (Psalm 37:7).


People alone or in groups at bus stops wait in early morning hours, sometimes warm and sometimes very cold. They lean against walls or stand with cups of coffee or hands full of newspaper. Memory keeps their sometimes-shadowed faces as they wait, patient or worried, for the correct number on a bus that can take them to work or an important appointment.

The city is full of windy streets in shadow as well as sunny avenues, shops, and stop lights. It harbors medicine, research, and education, and also huge sports arenas, commerce, shipping, cruises, and museums. It contains marble steps in older neighborhoods, once-pleasant parks and playgrounds. It includes art, literature, music, and theatre. This is my theme: "Every day in Baltimore and in every city, town, or village the tests of faith meet us where we are."

The city shows off modern office buildings, shops, and galleries, as well as old government centers and courts, historic places on both sides of the harbor. Neighborhoods of tradition enrich the view in the mind’s eye and in the city. These and other addresses are a big part of the life of Baltimore. They are important and some are imposing.

Yet each place was and is built up by human hands, designed by human talent and skill, used by human effort and ability. None has any real life at all apart from the people that worked to build them and others that work in them or around them. No place in the city can compare to the treasure of the people of the city.

The buildings are large and grab immediate attention. Their imposing or distinctive fascades and interiors receive acclaim. Yet is it the people that plan, construct, renovate, and equip each building and keep it running that are the treasure.

The people put the environment in place, do the work in it, use it, and enjoy or help it, in every case. They are citizens, commuters, and visitors of the city. All make the city run. All have power to make the city what it is, more than any plan or law can do. They bring energy and life into the city. They, being tired or energetic, doing their jobs, are part of a wonderful whole--people that bind the city together.

It is not foolish to pray for the people of the city. May God be honored in it, and bless it. In that sense, we should love the city, for it thrives through her people and those that love her people's best interests.

And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment…

Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. (Luke 7:37-38;47).

Faith and Prayer Resource: Seeking God's Face-Leaning to Walk with God in Prayer