The Holy Land: City Gates Proverbs 22:22 Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court. On our very first day in Israel, we laced up our hiking boots and gathered at the base of the hill to recite the Shema. We set up for the climb to the top of the hill called Tel Gezar that overlooks the most incredible views of Israel. We hiked a little more until we reach some ruins and received the history from Rod in a very profound way. Throughout our trip he would ask us to question, “Who am I? What am I doing here?” My answers stayed consistent. I’m a mother teaching my children to be kind and compassionate to others. I’m an artist making an example through my art, and I’m a philanthropist reaching to touch the lives of others and giving back through art. As usual, Rod greeted us with a jewel of wisdom that I’ll be chewing on for months to come: “God takes LITTLE and puts it on the main street where the whole world comes. God is setting up his people to TRUST him.” Rod then led us through historic teaching about city gates in ancient times. Gates were the weakest parts of the city, and when armies were attacking a city, they would wage their battles through the city gates. The warriors inside the city gates would hunker down and prepare for their enemies to break through. Archers, slingers, and soldiers would lay in wait and prepare for wartime. In times of peace, the city gates became the center of city activity. There, you would find the society buying and selling. You would find the elders congregating, the kings making rounds and walking among the people. The city gates buzzed with energy and community. During peaceful seasons, the gates housed the city’s water, food and supplies. The gates acted as a hostel and shelter for those in need. The city’s homeless and sick would come to the gates for charity and justice. Jesus proclaimed us to be a city set on a hill, shining our lights to the world around us. He commanded us to keep our lights shining so that in times on chaos, people would bring their chaos to your gates. God promises to speak into the chaos and bring shalom. In fact, in Scripture, you will find that the first thing God creates in the beginning is really shalom. He spoke into the chaos of nothingness and brought shalom. He brought even more than peace. He brought perfect harmony. And He wants us to do the same to the chaotic world around us. That’s my prayer for my art and the Gallery. My prayer is that our brand would be a lighthouse reflecting the light of His love into the darkness. Additionally, God has appointed us to be His royal priesthood… the very one manning the gates of His cities. The word “priest” simply means “advocate,” and He wants us to be on the main street, in the chaos, advocating for His cause. As people who walk alongside the Lord, we should have the biggest gates with the largest welcome mat, willing to accept and love the least of these. Are your lights on and your gates open to welcome the chaos and allow God to bring shalom, or are you simply lying in wait of an approaching enemy?