Hallelujah people

“Shut up. The Hallelujah people are here.” This was our greeting as we approached a group of tents surrounded by garbage and addiction. A group of homeless men thought we were up to no good and yelled at us. That’s when we met Patricia. Patricia was not ready to let the Hallelujah people be disrespected. Welcoming us and exhorting her community, a street sermon on the hospitality of the Holy Spirit was about to be preached. Patricia began to share her love of Scripture and the reality of her addiction. She shares that she can’t do recovery meetings and finds peace in the word of God. I tell Patricia that reading the Bible is how I got sober. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).” Patricia is overwhelmed with relief. “You mean you feel the warmth and freedom of God when you read the book? I tell Patricia that she isn’t crazy, that the words in the Bible are the breath of God. Patricia tells me that her addiction, and bad behavior have alienated her from God. I tell her that, “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).”  Patricia tells me that whenever she can stay in a motel, she likes to watch the Christian channel. We talk about various televangelist and how they have encouraged us over the years. Patricia thinks one of them may have been involved in a sex scandal. After yelling at her neighbors to quiet down for the “Hallelujah people”, Patricia recites John 3:16. It takes her a few times, and we help her with a few words. I ask her if she knows what verse comes after John 3:16. “Yes John 3:17!” Patricia wants to be a preacher when she gets clean from drugs. I tell her that she is a child of God and called to share his word. May our minds be transformed to believe that we are all worthy to receive the love and forgiveness of Christ. Her homework is to read John 3:17. Jesus comes to save the world, not condemn it. Shut up the Hallelujah people are here!

Michael Cox

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