Sunday, January 22, 2006

The laneway - whose space?

Tuesday afternoon we had a discussion about the laneway, and whose space it is. A lot of people use the laneway. The staff of Collins Street Baptist church park there. This morning most of the church people came in through the laneway. Last weekend we (the Urban Seed residents) moved all our stuff in via the laneway. Three days a week we'll be cleaning it up. Heroin users go to the steps at the back of the Victoria Hotel, just next to our garage, to inject. Foot Patrol come into the laneway every morning to empty the fit bin. People come into Credo lunches via the laneway. Green Collect (particularly EcoPaul) use the laneway a lot, because they keep their compost and recycling bins in the garage. Staff from the Vic's restaurant come out into the laneway for smoke breaks. As of last week a team from Sydney have set up scaffolding, so they can spend the next six months repairing the Vic's 'concrete cancer'. And during the Commonwealth Games there'll be a lot of police and security services around, because the Vic will be part of the International Village.
So the laneway is very much a shared space, between a lot of different groups.

We had a look at the final chapter of the letter to the Hebrews.
The author encourages the Jewish Christians to offer hospitality to strangers (1-3). The laneway is a place where we have an opportunity to do this, by keeping it clean and well lit, in order to minimise the harm of injecting drugs. It's also a half-way point between the street and the building, a kind of neutral ground where we can meet people from the street culture, and gain each others trust enough to venture into each others' spaces, such as our living room or the Flinders Street steps, where a lot of street people congregate.
The author also talks about how he (or she) doesn't consider him(or her)self to be part of the city, but is in fact looking forward to the new city that God is reconstructing (14). The laneway has the potential to be a gateway to God's city. I was talking today to someone who comes to Credo a lot, and he said, 'The thing I like about Credo is that the worst of enemies can come and eat together, and have a civilised conversation.' Sounded like God's city, and reminded me of what Isaiah prophecies about God's kingdom:

The cattle will graze among bears. Cubs and calves will lie down together. And lions will eat grass as the livestock do.
(Isaiah 11:6)


Taqwa said...

I say it belongs to clocks.

Who STILL hasn't been invented yet.

Christop said...

No, it belongs to Clockface the Brave! (Because he was invented about three years ago.)