New Orleans. A city famous for its food, music, and culture. Yet also a place where darkness is evident. Walking through the French Quarter in the heat of late June, my friends and I were appalled when we spotted children’s books featuring a voodoo doll as the protagonist. The street performers and artists were captivating, but one could not ignore the number of homeless people along the streets.
This summer my high school church choir volunteered to work in neighborhoods around New Orleans, picking up trash, prayer-walking, and ministering to local kids. Even over ten years later, the scars of Hurricane Katrina are still visible. Some houses still stand empty and abandoned; others bear the spray-painted mark indicating they were searched by patrols after the disaster. New Orleans is still a place of brokenness.
Standing on the steps of Washington Artillery Park, the sun blazing down on our faces, our student choir sang the gospel to New Orleans. Some people walked right by. Others stopped to listen. People passing in cars rolled down their windows. Some spectators on the street videoed a song or two on their phones—and took the message home with them. As uncomfortable as we were in the sweltering humidity, joy bloomed in sharing the good news of Jesus with people who may never have heard it before.
As Christians we are called to be lights breaking through the darkness of our world; we can spread that light right where we are. The joy of bringing healing light to a place of brokenness is a fulfillment found no other way.