Sometimes new things can happen in places only when the old things have passed away.

Katherine Yung writes in the Detroit Free Press of Charter One Bank’s initiative to offer support to Detroit’s growing urban farming movement.  $100,000 will be awarded to farmers and vendors through Charter One’s Growing Communities program to “expand local food sources in Detroit”.  In Motown.

Connections between Detroit and automobiles yet exist.  But the American auto is no longer tied to the Motor City’s well-being.  American cars are now made in places like Indiana and Europe.  Detroit auto factories are now empty, abandoned, crumbling.  Detroit’s relationship with Ford, General Motors and Chrysler today is like that of an ex who receives some alimony, remembers some good years.

An almost half century urban nightmare began as American industry and business left Detroit.  Another beginning is now taking place.  Not only in Detroit but in other American cities where innovators and entrepreneurs are placing gardens.

I remember seeing other gardens in the backyards of our Detroit Temple Corps neighbors.  One Sunday evening the corps took a walk down our streets, visiting and praying with households.  Behind his house one old man was growing a luxuriant vegetable garden.  Cabbages, string beans, greens, tomatoes.  We admired.  He straightened up a bit more.   We asked if we could pray for his garden.  All of us bowed our heads.

A garden in the city.  We read in Revelation that in the world to come there will be a garden in the city.  Those who now make gardens in Detroit and Philadelphia and in any of America’s abandoned urban places may be giving us a glimpse on earth as it is in heaven.