Images Courtesy Melissa McMasters, Overton Park Conservancy Director of Communications
Why can’t life be more like Overton Park?
For those of you who may not know about Midtown’s treasure, let me tell you: Overton Park is a 200-acre oasis in the city. Overton Park contains an old growth forest where plants and animals coexist sustainably. The people who exercise in Overton Park seek to live healthy lives and they reflect the diversity of our city – all races, all ages, all family configurations, and all economic conditions. People look out for each other in Overton Park – keeping physical distance, and even helping reunite people with their lost children and escaped dogs. And, at least for a little while longer, there are places where beautiful art is created and displayed.
Why can’t life be more like Overton Park? The Bible tells us that it can.
Of God’s peaceable kingdom, Isaiah writes: “The wolf shall live with the lamb, [and] the leopard shall lie down with the kid…The cow and the bear shall graze [and] their young shall lie down together…”
Isaiah lists animals that we would not usually expect to find in community with one another, and that’s the point. In God’s good time, all enmity will cease to exist. We will set aside our survival instincts and prioritize relationship. We will foreswear violence of every kind – of weapons and of words. We will be in Eden once again, living together in a sustainable and enduring peace.
Isaiah thought that his vision would be achieved with the coming of the messiah. The messiah, however, asks us to do our part in making this vision a reality: “Go into all the world,” Jesus says to his disciples, “and preach the gospel to every creature.” Not just to every person, but to every creature. God’s renewal of the world leaves nothing behind.
We are a long way from the peaceable kingdom, but with God’s help, we will get there. And, if we ever get discouraged, we can seek inspiration in places like Overton Park.