Monday, November 09, 2009

Word on the Street

Frozen Oak Leaf
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
We've been blessed already this year by our Seminary intern, Adam. Adam has been working with our homeless friends at Jeff Street's daily Hospitality Program, which provides a warm, welcoming and safe place for our homeless friends to visit during the week.

Whereas in most places, the homeless are not welcome and encouraged to leave as soon as possible, in our Hospitality Program, they can come and sit as long as they want, use the phone, get some coffee, read the paper, etc. In short, they can, at least for a while, make themselves at home.

Adam has been kind enough to share with us a few times this year his "Word on the Street," reflections on his ministry with the least of these. For this, we are very grateful, Adam...

This Word on the Street is a little different from previous ones because The Word on the Street is that a regular attender of our Hospitality Programs and a recent member of our congregation died this past week.

Richard had been living on the streets for years, 13 of which he was receiving dialysis treatments three times a week that kept him alive.

The precarious nature of his health had begun to shape Richard’s perspective very keenly lately. At the age of 58, he had begun to look back and assess his life, his relationships, and his standing with Almighty God. Some of those from our very congregation were honored with the opportunity to be included as conversation partners in Richard’s final process of reflection.

Now in retrospect, it almost seems like he knew what was coming—he seems to have been methodically going about reaching closure on the loose ends of his life. His joining us here at Jeff Street in the past few weeks was one small part of how Richard was reaching out to God from this side of death. What we didn’t know was that God was also reaching out to him from the other side, arms open wide in welcome.

So this week, let’s rejoice in the life of our brother, Richard, and be grateful that he chose to extend to us the privilege of sharing in some of his last and most sacred days. More than once he commented that the worship and the people at Jeff Street were “different than other churches” that he’d been to, and that he felt at home in that difference.

Let’s also be grateful for the work that God does through the Hospitality Ministries here, without which we might perhaps have missed out on knowing Richard and walking with him for a while, here at the end of his journey.



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