What a City, What a Place, What a God!

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Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

Minneapolis is a beautiful city. Almost every morning I stand at the western window of my study and look out over Lincoln Center and Lutheran Brotherhood and Piper Jaffray and IDS and City Center, and Norwest and Center Village, and Hennepin County and Pillsbury. (This morning, however, the city has vanished in the mist—as though an atom bomb leveled it and left a cloud of radiation in its place.) I stand there and pray for the city, and think of the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, measuring 1500 cubic miles (Revelation 21:16) and “having the glory of God, with radiance like jasper and clear as crystal.”

Three times a week I put on my Etonic Runners and jog through the streets of the city. Last Saturday I ran down Nicollet Avenue before anything opened. They were stringing the Christmas lights in the trees. I ran by the new Conservatory and prayed that their logo would not deceive our people (“Not what you need but what you want!”). I circled down by Westminster Presbyterian and near First Baptist and prayed for a great blessing of gospel power in those great old churches.

I marvel at how clean this city is. Four days after all that World Series confetti, and the streets were squeaky clean already. The Piper Jaffray Tower was designed at the top to fit the window washing tackle. It is a remarkable and beautiful city.

Sometimes I take a route east on Franklin, north on Cedar and cut through the Riverside high rises back toward town across the Fifth Street bridge. There sits Bethlehem. But nowadays I don’t just see the old Bethlehem. I see two or three years into the future, and sometimes five or seven years ahead. Instead of a dilapidated box with Spanish turrets, I see the whole expanse from 8th St. to 7th St. filled with a strong, straightforward, ungarnished, arresting architectural statement that the glory of Jesus Christ is worshiped at the east gate of this great city.

I think of how the advance of Islam is documented by the mushrooming of mosques in the cities of America, and ponder the significance of building a house of worship in metropolitan Minneapolis not for Mohammed but for the Maker and Ruler of all things, Jesus Christ.

What a location! Philips to the south, University to the east, Downtown to the west, flanked by the artery of 7th St. and the vein of 8th St., at the juncture of Interstates, and designed like a launching pad for missionary missiles that reach to Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America!

I find myself not just out of breath because I’m jogging, but because the potential is so staggering. Jesus Christ is so great! His gospel is so powerful. His glory is so valuable. His Father is so merciful. His resources are infinite. His Spirit is so close. I can hardly contain the wonder I feel that I am known and loved by this great God, and that I have been made a servant in his undefeatable mission at the heart of this great city.


Pastor John