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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

Sacred Art, Shelters, and Sidewalk Choirs: Dispatches from the Front

It feels a little like wartime, doesn’t it?

An invisible enemy who hides in the most innocuous places.

Shortages of ordinary goods whose availability we’ve always taken for granted.

War correspondents who fill our news feeds with grim body counts of those struck down.

Yet in unprecedented times of battle, we also experience unexpected moments of joy– the quiet satisfaction derived from helping others or hearing of those who are demonstrating extraordinary kindness.

Here are a few encouraging dispatches from the front.

Memphis, TN - After a pastor who mentored our older son in the ministry succumbed to COVID-19, we grieved along with countless other families who had benefited from Tim Russell’s influence.

Yet we rejoiced to see how Pastor Russell’s church reached out to his grieving widow, Katherine, when they spaced themselves out on the street outside the Russell home and began to sing – an act of such heartfelt worship that it attracted the attention of the Today Show, who aired the video here.

Hope sings.

Aurora, IL – In this hard-hit city outside Chicago, the director of a local homeless shelter has taken dramatic steps to serve the most vulnerable population. At Hesed House, Executive Director Ryan Dowd has been living among the people he serves for the past three weeks. In a news story, Dowd commented:

"This vulnerability and uncertainty that we feel now in the midst of this crisis is the vulnerability that our residents feel every day. When your lives already have fallen apart, a global pandemic doesn't really change it that much.”

Rather than retreating to the safety of his own home, Dowd moved in to live among the people of Hesed House. Hesed is the Hebrew term for God’s covenantal love and kindness.

Hope shelters others.

Everywhere, USA - Children across the country have literally taken to the sidewalks to leave chalk art messages of love and inspiration for those who pass by.

Hope shows its colors.

Flossenburg Prison, Germany - Exactly seventy-five years ago, on April 8, 1945, a worship service took place led by German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, imprisoned for his work resisting the Nazi regime. Listen to the story of what happened next:

In the face of certain death, Bonhoeffer spoke of life.

Hope rejoices in the truth.

Where does your hope lie? How can we encourage another on the path to eternal life? Let’s sing an anthem of hope together today.


@Copyright 2020, Maggie Wallem Rowe

Maggie's new book, This Life We Share: 52 Reflections on Journeying Well with God and Others, releases May 5 from NavPress. Pre-order here for a discounted copy directly from the publisher. (Leave a comment after this post if you'd like an extra promotional discount as well.). So grateful for the life we share!



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