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We have also published the book shown below in the form of an e–book. We invite you to read, copy, or down-load it free at this web-site:
A Spiritual Autobiography
How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes
of an ordinary guy from Jersey City
The Manhattan Skyline – God’s Message of Hope and Good News
As the sub-title of my book (see above) says, I’m from Jersey City, but for the last 40 years I have lived in suburban locations in New Jersey. However, I have always looked forward to times when I could go back and visit the city. It might sound strange to you, but one reason I like to visit the city is to experience the presence of God. Of course, I can and do experience the presence of God wherever I happen to be, but I am especially aware of his presence when I’m in the city.
I’m writing this blog on September 8, 2014. I’m remembering that one of my visits to the city took place exactly 13 years ago – September 8, 2001. On that day I was in the city of Hoboken, a city adjacent to Jersey City. It’s where Frank Sinatra was born and raised. Where there was (and maybe still is) this famous restaurant called the Clam Broth House. Around lunch time on that day I was sitting on a park bench, looking across the Hudson River at the downtown Manhattan skyline, where I used to work. There were people and sounds all around me, but I had this sense of peace – of being alone with God.
I thought about how things change. The park in which I was sitting was not that long ago a steamship pier, through which I used to ship industrial equipment when I was in the export business. I knew that the skyline across the river had changed a number of times over the past few centuries, even since the day I last worked there 27 years earlier. The skyscraper in which I worked, 165 Broadway Building, was no more. Other buildings in downtown Manhattan were also gone. Primarily to make way for the new World Trade Center complex. I realized that some day the skyline, which at that time was dominated by those World Trade Center twin towers, would change again, but certainly not in my lifetime.
I have always found it difficult to comprehend how human beings visualized, planned, and built that complex, beautiful, but practical skyline that I contemplated that day. And how the most diverse population in the world could actually work together in peace in those buildings, despite differences in religion, race, and ethnic and national origin.
That’s when God reminded me that while this all seemed to be the work of human minds and hands, it was really his creation, using God-given natural and human resources. I still can’t comprehend it all, so I’m content to believe that all that was and is beautiful across the river was one big piece of evidence that “God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good”. That’s the way it was as I experienced the presence of God on September 8, 2001.
Then there was September 11. Early on that morning I was back home in Southampton,NJ. bemost unbelievable. Right before our eyes, the lower Manhattan skyline, which I viewed only three days before, and was sure would last well beyond my time in this world, was being broken and destroyed. As were the lives of thousands of innocent people. I couldn’t comprehend how human beings could use the mental, physical, and even spiritual capability God had given them, to do such an evil thing.
As we approach September 11, the 13th anniversary of that evil act (now known as Patriot Day) I still can’t comprehend that. But one thing I can comprehend is this: Jesus loves me, and you – all of us – and that nothing – absolutely nothing – can separate us from that love. Whenver I see the downtown Manhattan skyline, I am reassured that God gives us the hope we need to get us through these and future difficult times.
About a year ago my daughter and I spent the day in Downtown Manhattan. We took a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, from which we had a really good view of the latest version of the Manhattan skyline, which now includes a new World Trade Center. As always, God, using human and natural resources, has created something which is once again complex and beautiful, but practical. This is a reminder that despite all the bad news in the world these days, there is always good news. When things seem to be hopeless, there is always hope.Yes, I can comprehend that “God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good.”
Grace and peace, Ray