Saturday, October 21, 2006

Front Porch Pleasure


The weather was so pleasant the early evening of Tuesday, October 17 - last week. The atmosphere at "our" park was like a warm fire. That could be partly because of the large amount of grilled chicken and potatoes prepared and delivered in several large oven looking sort of serving containers. The steam and the warm air radiated outwards from the serving line.

Perhaps it was that I was late, I had brought cookies and little debbie treats for desert, and they really depended on my contribution to round out the meal. My heart raced a bit, my blood pressure elevated. Or maybe it was that there simply were so many other people there, strangers and friends alike each glowing a bit from the warm food in their bellies and the obvious community that this weekly supper brings.

The main course..
This is what I like about our weekly dinners at Peace Park. I see my homeless friends. I see my full circle volunteer friends. I see the community of people that regularly volunteer to share a meal with the homeless and hungry. We eat together.

I meet new people and it is exciting and sometimes a bit edgey. This is the street after all. Not every one is coasting along through life hiding their "issues" behind a well kept front lawn and a locked door. Sometimes there is profanity, sometimes there is a scuffle, sometimes there is a broken heart weeping with no locked door to hide behind. But always, ALWAYS there is Jesus.

I also like to contribute to the meal one way or another. I have had a lot of chronic illnesses over the last few years that have limited my ability to contribute in the more obvious ways. If I can, I am proud to participate with the meal. I am blessed that they depend on me each week in some small way. This is the glue that delivers the message. Hungry people depend on the food for dinner. We depend on volunteer contributions to coordinate and provide the supplies. All of us depend on the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our Hope. All of us depend on the goodness of God through the presense of the Holy Spirit to guide us, protect us, and draw the lost to the message of the Gospel. Of all the things I like about our weekly meals, this is what I LOVE the most. The ministry.

Take a load off..
Wow. Last week the best part of the meal was the "hanging out" afterwards. The weather was cool, early autumn like. The breeze was mild. The aroma of the grilled chicken lingered. There are stone ledges and cement benches to sit on and digest. It feels just a "bit" like I am just wandering about "wasting" my time. Do I love to "waste" time at peace park? Yep. The chatter was easy this week, the only anxiety I had was that i wouldn't have enough time to get around to visit with everybody I saw. Ah well. Next week. Depend on it.

Mind what matters..
Day to day whether we are living out our lives working and taking care of a "home", or searching for a place to take a nap where people won't throw stones at you or call the police to make you "move along", we all must depend on faith. If your faith is in Jesus and His blood, no man or woman on earth can steal your "inner fire". Your purpose.

As we have been told that God has a plan and a purpose for each of us, we know that there is a Center within each believer that we can abide in and return to when lost. Life is NOT futile.

We have One who is faithful and proved His power by His resurrection through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to make His "Home" in each of us when we turn our heart to Jesus. This daily walk by faith in the Gospel and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is miraculous and amazing, infused with purpose. As we look toward the heavenly reward and the blessing of the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit our circumstances and the things that "man" uses to measure success fade, fade, fade.

If we live our lives by faith in material success and our own accomplishments the struggle will end in dust. Dust. Everything on the earth is passing away. Pleasure in our own skins and our "reputation" is pleasure only in the shallowness of the natural world. Who do you blame when your castle crumbles and suddenly your home is a window well in the back of a condemned building?

If your friends desert you and fail you, especially if you really deserve it, you have failed. Your faith in yourself and your accomplishments have emptied out. Even when you are at the pinnacle of success or wallowing in mediocrity, your faith is STILL dependent upon the "whim" of circumstances and the content of your character. All you will have is what you perceive when you look in the bathroom mirror.

I would rather be "homeless" with the mystery of the Holy Spirit as the Power within and my constant companion than living in the lap of luxury, scorning the miraculous and believing only in what my natural eyes can see.

Living on the streets is literally a question of life and death every day. Do you have the vision to see the potential of Life on the streets? Come and see.

Harriet Esther :)


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