Wednesday, November 26, 2008

just GO

Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." (Luke 7:50)

How many times have I read this story of Jesus anointed by the sinful woman and wept? I could always relate to her, full of thanksgiving for His forgiveness and acceptance.

But this time, I looked at it afresh, and saw the word GO. And I heard the Father saying to me...

"Just GO--do not look back, analyze, wonder, fret, manage backwards---just go! For reasons you will never understand this side of eternity, I have moved you with My hand for such a time as this---out of there AND into here. You have learned, you have been obedient, but do NOT waste time looking back, indeed GO in peace. Go knowing that I am with you and them."

Thank You, Father. Help me to love You much by showing these, Your beloved in Newark, my love---indeed Your love through me.

"Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much." (Luke 7:44-47)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

You're the God of this city

You're the God of this City
You're the King of these people
You're the Lord of this nation
You are

In the morning I leave suburbia and take a long and winding road to work. Through the park, golden leaves, geese on still waters, under bridges, with water fountains around the bend. And in the distance, there is the Cathedral Basilica towering above the homes. The worship music is a perfect sound track to my drive, until finally I find myself in the inner city of Newark.

Over 8 decades ago, my father was born in a house only steps from where I work. As a young adult, he worked there and later moved his business to East Orange. The house he grew up in was torn down to build a highway, and the business places left when the 1960's riots broke out. The wealthy who made their residence in the area quickly abandoned the place, moving further and further into the suburbs, leaving the poor behind.

I find myself now in the midst of that neighborhood, working shoulder to shoulder with people who make their homes where my parents worked so hard to escape. We talked about Thanksgiving today at work. The menu may be slightly different, but the concept is always the same. Thanksgiving is a time for food and family, no matter where you live, what color your skin, or where you make your home.

21 years ago, I left the corporation that was the largest maker of computers in the world. I left a job with great benefits, a great salary, and a great future. If you had told me in 1987 that I would not return to full time work for 21 years, to raise my children at home and to be a part time secretary in a church setting, I would have told you that you were crazy.

And today I find myself working full time for the largest homeless shelter in Newark. In Kingdom currency, it's quite a promotion, one that I am honored that the Lord has given me. Every morning I pray that He would enable me to serve well in the new corner of His vineyard where He has placed me.

Each day I am sure that greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

one small thing

They were planning a meeting today for the clients at our homeless shelter. (Read: clients=the homeless) The man in charge was having a hard time getting them to show up, so I volunteered to bring some baked goods, as an incentive. "You mean you'll pick up some donuts?" he asked. "Oh no," I replied. "I'll bake something myself."

This morning as I waited for the quick breads to finish baking, I read the account of Jesus, intending to just pass through the village of Nain. Instead, He found Himself in the middle of a funeral procession for a young man who was the only son of a widow. Scriptures tell us, "When the Lord saw her, His heart overflowed with compassion."

Jesus was able to raise the dead that day, and restored the young man to his mother. He did it because His heart overflowed with compassion.

Today, I could not give the clients all that was needed. I could not give these people a job or a home in the suburbs. I cannot heal their addictions or theirmphysical or emotional pain.

But I can still show the love of Christ by this one small thing. I baked them bread this morning. And hopefully in that, spread the love of Christ.

They praised God, saying... “God has visited his people today.” See Luke 7:11-17.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Be Still

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm

They had a party for me yesterday, after church.
There were flowers and gifts and food, notes of
appreciation, and two Terry Boch songs, written just for me!

Everything a girl could want.

And yet I want to sit and cry.

The new office is getting easier to manage. I feel the
presence and power of God in this place.
I feel His love for these new people I serve.
I don't smell the smells and recoil. Instead, I want
to step into the ball and swing.

The woman I prayed for Friday came in to see me today.
I felt her connection and her determination to hold
onto her program and our Father.

And yet I want to sit and cry.

I don't want it to be over, this part of my life!!
I need to let it go, and yet I so want to hold on.
The ocean is rising, the thunder roars.
There is no where to run, no where to hide.
It encompasses me, grabs my ankle and won't let go
as the water rises over my face.

I will soar with You above the storm
--Yes I know that
but I cannot feel that now.

Hold onto me, Father. I asked for this and
I know You are near. Help me burn the ships,
so the temptation to return will not
overwhelm me in the flood.

Father, You are King over the Flood

I know I only have to be still
and You will let it wash over me
and it will be ok.

Hold my hand, Beloved. Hold tight!

And I will be still
and know that You are God.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Today in the field

They are called clients. The people who live in the homeless shelter where I work. They are the poor, the mentally challenged, the addicted, the formerly incarcerated, or just down on their luck. In the course of my day, some come to visit me.

Today, the woman who came and sat in my chair wept quietly, the tears streaming down her face. The heroin has seduced her back into it's lair and she felt regret and trapped. I suggested that she talk to someone on staff who could help her, but she refused. Against orders from my boss, I asked if I could pray for her, she was willing, and so I did.

I continued to pray for her as I drove home, unable to shake the sight of her, the pain she felt. My problems shrunk in the shadow of hers.

And yet, later I thought about my own sin, how it has seduced me back into it's lair and how I feel regret and trapped. How am I different from her? Is her sin so big and mine so small? Is my sin less deadly, more appropriate somehow because I can still go home to my house and make dinner for my family and pretend better that things are ok?

Why is she a client and I am not?

In the church, we are all clients. We all have our sins, some more secret than others, but there none the less. I may be able to pretend that I am living the life, but the truth be told, I am just as needy as she.

Like her, I must confess, pray, get help to change. Every day.

Romans 3:22-24
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.