Holiness in our Midst: Session 58

Holiness in our Midst


What is your favorite city? Mine would have to be Chicago, where I spent 14 years on the Near North Side in the Seventies and Eighties. I lived where the action was in a time of spiritual renewal. Six blocks to downtown. One block to Oak Street Beach. Four blocks to my church home, Fourth Presbyterian Church, across from the Hancock Building on Michigan Avenue. Twelve blocks to Lincoln Park. Something in my secret soul was satisfied by the sweep of skyscrapers along the horizon, the multi-lingual diversity of the neighborhoods, and the constant wind blowing sweet with the sounds of street jazz musicians. Where else but Lincoln Park Zoo could I shiver and sing Christmas carols to the animals and then warm up over hot chocolate at the Lion House? I often visit Chicago in my imagination: its tasty restaurants, world-class museums, architectural landmarks, and musical venues, especially the Old Town School of Folk Music. I go for long walks, hearing the waves off Lake Michigan mixed with the honking of horns on nearby Lake Shore Drive, and delight in the magnificent ever-changing cityscapes.

It strengthens me whenever I remember how such deep religious and ethnic differences enhanced rather than divided us there. It was in Chicago that I learned from social justice leaders about how to be with persons in poverty as equals. Jeremiah 29:7 (NIV) reads: “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.” While I was in exile, I tasted true community, along with the heavenly flavors of Uno’s (deep dish) Pizza! I’m more prepared to persevere in these trying political times because of my years in this good city.

STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: What city are you drawn to? Why?


  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. Write a reflection on a city you like to visit. Why is it special to you?


  1.   Read aloud Session LVIII.
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our Midst: Sharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

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