I will sing a blessing to you
We seem to have a lot of talks about God in the parking lot behind the Episcopal church. Last week we prayed with a woman who had lost her family to drugs. Her husband’s in jail and her kids are with Child Protective Services. Her daughter’s living with a much older boyfriend and life is painful. “I’m trying to stay away from people who are too far gone into sin. I don’t want to get caught up in evil.” Her family had her over for Thanksgiving and it was unpleasant. She hadn’t seen her kids in eight months, and the holiday reunion did not go well. She also ended up fighting with her brother. We pray and she cries. “I’m not a bad person and I try to do the right thing.” She explains how she knows when she needs to pray for someone; her chest begins to hurt. We talk about the move of the Holy Spirit and the gift of discernment.
This week we are in the same parking lot talking with a different group of homeless folks. People stop by and say hi and thank us for the socks. People ask us what church we’re from and my co-worker Sonja tells them about my dinner church. Erick asks me what the sermon was about, and we all start talking about Scripture. Last week’s message was on John the Baptist and expectation. Jesus being a God who demonstrates his kingship by healing the sick and bringing good news to the poor. Someone brings up King David having Bathsheba’s husband killed. “Uriah the Hittite!” yells a man from under the church awning. We talk about the prophet Nathan and the flaws of human nature. Someone shares about the tree of knowledge ─ “people eating forbidden fruit because they think they have their big boy pants on.” Linda talks about growing up Catholic, then becoming agnostic. I share my testimony and we all have a good laugh.
Ivan pulls up on his bike and gives Sonja and me a big hug. He has been struggling with heroine and wants to walk us to our car. We stop and talk with people along the way. Ivan passes out packages of facial cleanser and helps us move some socks. We come upon two men and they take some water. Before we leave, one of the men tells us he wants to sing a blessing over us, “If I don’t give away the gift that was giving to me it will spoil like mayonnaise in the sun!” He opens his mouth and ends our time of outreach by singing the benediction, “May the Lord bless and keep you; may his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord turn toward you and give you his peace” (Numbers 6:24-27).
It’s such a blessing to follow Christ with the homeless community.