The spirit of Pope Francis is pervasive. From news broadcasts to social media to late night talk shows, everyone is talking about the visit of the brave, prophetic leader. Today not only included the echo of the Pope’s words, but a witness to similar types of action.
Today, hundreds of people gathered outside the former Reeb Elementary School for the opening of the Reeb Avenue Center. Local residents and community leaders shared in the joy of combined work. Over $12 million dollars of renovation came from public, private, and non-profit sources.
In his remarks, Senator Rob Portman quoted Pope Francis that we must place ourselves among people who “seem disoriented and aimless, trapped in a hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair.” In these words, Pope Francis called for the recognition of a shared connection, that my neighbors’ well-being is connected to my own. At the Reeb Avenue Center, this connection is embodied as a “Hub of Hope”.
Mayor Coleman spoke of a day, four years ago, that was less hopeful. Within a few hundred feet of Reeb, the South Side Settlement House closed. That day, Mayor Coleman encountered a shirtless man walking with his son and pushing a shopping cart of hub caps and cans. This encounter left the mayor wondering what he could do. From this encounter and years of work that followed, Reeb was reborn from the shell of a school that once was to the dream of a community that can be.
This is a moment of resurrection. Resurrection is not merely a theological term used to describe transition to an afterlife, resurrection happens whenever God makes an old thing new. Resurrection happens every time an addict is clean, an abandoned home is rebuilt, a marginalized person is treated with dignity, a hungry person is fed, an unemployed person is given work, a community is reborn. Resurrection is the hub of hope, that God will take all that is broken and make it new.