Sunday, April 17, 2011


I've been a part of a lot of memorable things in downtown Detroit. I've been to a block party in front of Michigan Central Station, I've seen a friend debut his art at a gallery showcase off of Michigan Ave., and I was one of thousands that cheered Justin Verlander on to his no hitter at Comerica Park in June of 2007. My heart swelled with pride when I walked the streets of Detroit in 2009 as NCAA fans from all over the country came for a visit to cheer on their teams in the Final Four at Ford Field, and I've been in awe of everyday people who've run marathons along the Detroit River.

You see, moments like that fill me with an energy that is unmatched by anything else. Moments where I get a glimpse of the potential of the city. Moments where streets are filled with people, and restaurants have waits to get in, and where life is pumped into the veins of a city that is too often dismissed as dead.

Saturday was a day that I'll add to that list of things that happen in Detroit that make me proud.

Aud eyed the skies as we drove down 75 to meet up with the other EACH walkers Saturday morning. "I wonder how many people are going to decide not to come because of the rain", I said. It was dark, cold, and windy. The wipers were on, the skies were grey, and we were both armed with rain jackets and umbrellas. Chances were it wasn't going to be comfortable, but we were committed to walking in prayer for the city and its people. And with the walk scheduled to go on at 9am, rain or shine, turning back wasn't really an option.

EACH (Everyone A Chance to Hear) is a movement taking part in the Detroit area. In a nutshell, it's a commitment from over 500 churches in Metro Detroit to spread the gospel, and to do our part to rebuild the city. The walk on Saturday was dedicated to prayer, but the full vision of the EACH mission goes far beyond that. In addition to prayer, believers in Metro Detroit are committing one million man hours to physically build up Detroit between Easter of this year and 2012. It's amazing.

Some might have shrugged it off to coincidence that by the start time of 9am the skies had cleared and the sun stretched its long rays all the way down to the parking lots in front of Comerica Park, but I know better. And as Audry and I waited to meet up with friends, we heard one elderly gentleman say to another, "look at the heavens opening!". Umbrellas were closed, and with a joke by one of the pastors about how it was helpful to have a local weatherman on the planning team for the walk, the events carried on as scheduled. And not one drop of rain fell on the group as we worshiped together.

There was a lot of representation from different churches, as pastors from all over the area stepped up to the mic to share greetings, scripture, and what their encouragement and vision was for EACH. It was powerful stuff, and mixed between the songs of worship were words of truth. Truths that reminded us of the following:

* The ground we were standing on was holy.

* There was healing happening in Detroit.

* Our city will rise. Because if Jesus is powerful enough to rise from a tomb, what makes you think He can't take a city like ours, and bring it to life?

As emotional and spiritual as it was to be worshiping with upwards of 20,000 believers in a parking lot in Detroit, my favorite part of that time probably had to do with a lone man in a red shirt. As voices were echoing the chorus of "How great is our God", I noticed a man standing in the window of an apartment, many stories up. He had the window open, and after taking a few pictures, was just standing there... watching. Watching because I'm sure it was the first time he must have been woken up on a Saturday morning, in the city of Detroit, to 20,000 voices singing praises to our creator. And trust me, it was an awesome sight. I had chills, I had watery eyes, and most of all, I was filled with thankfulness for all the people gathered, and their partnership in doing something positive, in the name of Jesus, for the city of Detroit.

Attorney Shannon Holmes, Director of Detroit's Human Resources Department shared the following scripture in the words she delivered to those gathered, "... if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves to pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive them their sin and will heal their land" - 2 Chronicles 7:14. And so with that, the appointed thousands took to the streets, and prayed for our city to be healed.

The walk was 1.6 miles. It went from Comerica Park, down Woodward to Jefferson before turning around and back to where we started. There were praise bands from different churches on random corners, filling the route with music; and as far as the walkers went, the group included verbal praisers, scripture readers, singers, silent prayers, and more impressively, one body of believers.

There are days when I get discouraged with what's happening in Detroit. Days when I'm disappointed, and am not sure what the answer to my question of, "what is going to make this better?" is. But shortly after the walk, the scripture from Matthew 9 came to mind, "the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few"... And I thought, "20,000 people doesn't exactly sound like a few". I know the work to be done in spreading the gospel and building up a crumbling city isn't going to be easy. But, I also know that it does something for your confidence in movement actually happening when you know you've got at least 19,999 other people wanting the same thing. and showing up.

I was encouraged by the turnout, and for the most part found myself thinking, "I'm so glad this is how we're reflecting Jesus today". I can't tell you how proud I felt seeing person after person thank Detroit police officers for not only coming down that day, but for being willing to serve daily in our city. These were people I was proud to walk alongside on Saturday, and it left me inspired about the year of service to come. Detroit is going to be transformed.

I'm excited that I've been chosen to be a part of something like this. I'm excited for the events that are yet to come in the name of this movement. I'm excited to sign up to do my part in chipping away at those one million hours for our city, and I'm excited to see what it will look like to have us Christians bring more Heaven to Detroit in the coming year.

For more information on what's going on with EACH, check out their website @ .


Meredith said...

Beautiful Em. Made me tear up several times picturing that scene in my head. Just more confirmation that Detroit is where I should be... Can't wait to put in some hours of my own this coming year.

E.M. said...

mere, let's serve together! I'll fill you in on the details when you get home! :)