Friday, April 15, 2011

Workers for the Kingdom

As we dive deeper into the subculture of homelessness, I am struck by the number of people who are without support and loving relationships. There are few of us who can provide this and so many in need, a multitude who need friendship with Jesus and with people. My supervisor Jeff read Matthew 9:34-38 at our team meeting recently:

"And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction, when he saw the crowds he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'" (ESV)

So many are needed to shepherd (pastor) our friends living outside, to advocate for them, to share the truth of Jesus with them. So pray with me for workers.

I know the work is hard, but the sharing in the reward is great! I see this as I watch Mike move into the only apartment he has really ever had. Looking at the joy on his face, I know deeply the reward is great and I see a glimpse of the kingdom.

When families come to the meal sharing at Pershing Park and Taj plays with Gator and little Lily hands an orange to David, I see a glimpse of the kingdom. Taj and Lily as children are unaware of what separates housed from homeless. They give me a picture of what is coming and will come when Jesus returns. Someday, as God's family, we will not be separated by our socioeconomic statuses, race, or gender (there will be neither jew nor greek) and I will rejoice now in that reward!

Will we work for this? Will we partner in the gospel with Jesus?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Supportive Communities

Last week my boyfriend Eric and I did a video interview with our friend Brandon who used to live on the streets. Brandon has been key in encouraging me to pursue change and life for our friends without homes and has become a dear friend and brother. He is the perfect picture of how the bondage of addiction can be broken when a community of people gives unconditional love.
Brandon says all of it better than I can. So i'll just ask that you click the link, watch the video, and take a moment to sit with him in his story.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

God with Us

As Christmas draws near I remember that God calls himself Emmanuel "God with us." Jesus is God who enters into our lives and is with us in the pain and in the joy. He doesn't require us to "clean up" or be rid of all of our sin and filth. He comes to us exactly where we are. He touches the lepers and accepts the prostitutes.

When I was young I had very vivid dreams of holding sun damaged, scabbed, and beat up hands in my own small hands. Some subtle, but powerful healing took place in these moments of simply touching hurt human beings. As I continue to spend time my friends with out homes I remember the dreams I once had and see the passion God was placing in my heart for hurting people. Sitting with my friends without homes, like Paul (a chronically homeless 62 year old man) is what I long to do. I am reminded of what they have to bare when I hold their hands in mine or when I feel the roughness of Paul's hand tenderly on my cheek. Deep bonds are created and walls seem to break down.

Human beings crave touch. When I am away from family and friends and don't receive affection for a period of time, it makes me weary in a strange way. Our friends on the streets too often go with out being touched by anyone, or sometimes even talked to. Moments we just sit together are some of the most powerful experiences of Jesus I have had in my life. These moments did not happen in a church service or bible study (not that these are not good and important things) but they happened in a park with alcoholics, rejected and ignored by society. Because God is with us in the park.

Doing God's work with people living on the streets is not an amazing selfless act, but the place where I am made most whole. Moments we share are where I receive and am touched in some of the deepest places of my being. I have seen the father's face there. Jesus has sat with me, Paul, Bruce, Gader and Shakey. I am humbled.