Reflections from the Road
Recently, my wife Jennie and I returned from two long trips in the Midwest. We traveled through six states (Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and Indiana), and several large cities (Kansas City, Des Moines, St. Louis, and Indianapolis). We passed through many small towns as well, and noted the endless cornfields along the way.
Each state offered slogans that proclaimed their importance. (“Illinois- Mile after Magnificent Mile,” Indiana – Restart Your Engines,” “Iowa – Life/Changing”) Each small town urged you to stop and investigate their antique mall, or their unique city square. We did stop at a few places, and a few proved to be enjoyable. Others, well, let us just say we felt we were conned.
However, it wasn’t the diversity of the Midwest that caught our attention. What caught our attention was that it all seemed to be an extension of what we already knew.
Every town seemed to have its collection of stores that are the same everywhere else. Kohls, Target, and T.J. Max stores seemed to be in every city and suburb. In fact, the buildings all looked alike! Every stop seemed to have the Panera Bread, Subway, Wall-Mart, and the always-present MacDonald’s.
What this metaphorically tells me is that in spite of all our differences, we are a nation of individuals who are remarkably the same. Our social media and shopping interests have made us more homogenous than ever before.
I am reminded that in Scripture, there are no differing prescriptions for those who live in big cities and small towns. All people are in need of salvation. Humans, regardless if they live in Glen Carbon, Illinois or Jinja, Uganda, need to hear and respond to the Gospel.
Years ago John Steinbeck wrote in his book “Travels With Charlie,” “American cities are like badger holes, ringed with trash–all of them…” Perhaps that remains true. Nevertheless, the need of the human heart, enslaved to sin and wasting away, is what fascinates me. The cure for humanity’s greatest need was provided by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross two thousand years ago.
And, you don’t have to travel thousands of miles through six states to find it!
In the Lamb,