The Bible’s preference for city over wilderness is not simply a by-product of the hardships of Israel’s wilderness wandering, or of the threatening beasts and brigands that lurked outside Israel’s walled cities. Scripture’s exaltation of the city and suspicion of the wilderness unveil God’s purposes for us: We were made to live together, with each other and with our God.” (The message of Acts in the History of Redemption by Dennis E. Johnson)

When you think of heaven, or the consummation of redemption, or community, what do you think of? A large worship gathering in a field or a quiet and peaceful beach sunrise with a few friends, do you ever think of a city? Dennis E. Johnson has a very stirring portrait of the city above. For Johnson the city is the preferential picture of community in the Bible, its where all God’s people meet and deepen their love for Him and oneanother together. You could say that the city is the backdrop of community, not the only backdrop but a prominent one. As Harvie Conn was fond of saying, ‘Creation begins in a garden but ends in a city.’ Against our starker imaginations of cities as places of crime, corruption, and sins of all manners the word of God encourages us to see the city as a place for community building. Perhaps instead of leaving the city for community we should be going to her to find it.

Surprised? I was…