The day was beautiful. Just perfect. Picture perfect really (many more photos to be shared soon) –
the mixing of those who have homes and those who live in a shelter or on the streets,
the open way in which both groups interacted,
the line of chairs and tubs beneath them,
the people who sat in the chairs and the people who knelt below them,
the tears cried,
the hugs given,
the Scripture read,
the prayers prayed,
the food eaten,
the shoes and clothes taken,
the joy on the faces,
the dancing of the trees,
and the relaxed way the day just went on and on.
We didn’t stop to clean up at 12:30 like we “planned.” The schedule, though generally followed, was really thrown out the window as the people came together. There were no barriers; people didn’t stand apart. There wasn’t a section or area of the tree-shaded space we inhabited that wasn’t covered with men and women, children and adults, who intermingled to care for each other.
We didn’t just stay in one place either. We journeyed down the block to kneel beside men and women who had not yet joined the party – some of them came, some of them stayed where they were.
Without being prompted, two high-school-aged young men put on gloves and grabbed trash bags and painstakingly cleaned the space where our homeless people live. The picked up cigarette buts and glass, plastic and paper. But they didn’t do it out of obligation, but rather with great joy! These two young men stayed around longer than almost anyone, and at times I saw them running and jumping, spilling over with excitement.
I didn’t expect to have as many personal connections with the homeless as I did.
When can we do this again?
Are you all coming every Saturday?
We liked it all – the Scripture, the prayer, the feet washing, the food, the people, the community…
Will you come again?
How can I help you do this more?
Next time you spend time with the homeless on a Saturday, will you let us know?
Can we bring food down again?
Fulfilled longings. Free hearts.
As everyone gathered at the beginning to start setting up, I said, “There are no rules!”
A non-homeless woman said, “Thank heaven!”
When we wrapped up our prayer time together, I said, “We only have 20 breakfast burritos; they are cut in half. They are for all of us to share, so please, share your burrito with someone who needs one.”
Then I thought, How often we go to the homeless with something to give them, and how infrequently do we share what we have … how much more dignifying and inviting is it to say, “We have this much to go around between us all, this is what God has lovingly provided, and we could all use some food, so let’s share!”?
our friends in business who brought food for ALL of us!
Surely this was the idea in the book of Acts. It’s this idea of, “What I have actually isn’t mine. It belongs to God. So why wouldn’t I share what I have with my community?” This is not mandated or dictated sharing. This is overflow sharing.
It’s the kind of sharing that looks around at all of our plentiful stuff and says, “Oh my goodness, I cannot wait to share this with someone else!”
And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.*
I believe that we must know those in physical need to be moved in this way. We have to touch them, we have to weep with them, we have to let them in to weep with us, and then – and only then – could our hearts ever be moved to do without, to live with less so that we all might be full.
And this is the secret…
We are all hungry -- and we all get full -- full tummies and full hearts -- when we join one another in community. May we continue to tap into this great joy, like we did on Saturday. May God continue to open our eyes and provide opportunities for us to do so!
Will you come next time?