A Reflection by Thomas Cook, Hope House Resident
The season of Advent is upon us. It is a time of waiting…and of HOPE. WHAT are you waiting for? What are you WAITING for?!
Living in the Back of the Yards, WHAT our community and neighborhood waits for are many things…
-better schools, education, and options for youth
-jobs and work opportunities for adults
-an end to the gang violence
-better care of our streets and public areas (so many potholes! And when it rains hard, the streets flood more than seems normal; this doesn’t seem to happen in most neighborhoods on the North Side…)
The list could go on and on. The Back of the Yards is clearly an underserved part of Chicago. The same opportunities and options that our brothers and sisters on the North Side have are simply not available (or as easily accessible) to those who live in the Back of the Yards. To sum it up in one word—the Back of the Yards waits for JUSTICE.
During Advent, Christians commemorate ancient Israel’s awaiting for a JUST one, a ‘Messiah’, who would bring justice and righteousness to all God’s people. Early Christians believed Jesus of Nazareth was the fulfillment of this hope. Some people were so moved by Jesus and his message that they abandoned their current way of life to follow him full time (Mt 4:18,22; 9:9; Mk 3:14-17; Lk 8:1-3; 19:1-10; Jn 1:45-49). Men and women followed Jesus and (like Jesus) proclaimed ‘the kingdom of God has come’ through their words, actions, and lifestyles. The Kingdom of God is a message of HOPE! The Kingdom of God is the way the world would be if God were ruler. The Kingdom of God is a JUST distribution of resources so that all have what they need.
Our HOPE House in the Back of the Yards neighborhood is a proclamation that the Kingdom of God has come! We are here to humbly proclaim God’s JUSTICE and PEACE simply by our presence and solidarity with our brothers and sisters in this neighborhood. So…what are you WAITING for?! Come join us!!! Move in with us at the HOPE House and proclaim the Kingdom of God! We have rooms available J We would love to have you join our community and help work for justice in the Back of the Yards and in our world. As you think about WHAT you are waiting for this Advent, please also ask: what am I WAITING for?!
May this Advent lead us all to a better understanding of what it means to wait for Jesus to come into the world and into our personal lives. May we also be more conscious of the sense of urgency and response the Kingdom of God AWAITS from us…
Advent 2015: WHAT are you waiting for? What are you WAITING for?!!