Saturday, January 29, 2005

Soup Kitchen Friends

John 14
1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Our church family served the meal today at the soup kitchen in our church building again. It's amazing how it builds community to serve together. I heard so much laughter and everyone was having so much fun. The mix of people who come to eat are as varied as our city...most are homeless, some just the working poor, some are English speakers, some Spanish, men and women, old and young, high and straight, drunk and sober. The gift of hospitality is one that blesses the hosts as well as the guests. It's such a privilege to share food and clothes with those who have need...to share a laugh or chat about life with someone who is usually overlooked.

Scott was there today...apparently he just got out of prison this week. I'm not sure why we was sent away for four months, but he greeted me like I was one of his oldest friends. In truth I knew him and the mother of his baby for a few months before they vanished from church, as the homeless do when life throws them a curveball. Tara was there, too, and she still has the glazed look that comes from using crack. Her whole face looks numb, almost like she just came from the dentist or just got woken in the middle of the night. Scott was bragging about how he's been sober for over a year, and I wonder about Tara and if she will ever be able to shake her crack addiction. Their baby is in state custody right now, and I pray that he is safely cared for by someone who treats him as her own. Tara was so devastated when they took him from her, but I'm sure it's better for the little one. How heartbreaking, however, for a mother to be separated from her baby. Tara has at least two other children from another man who are living apart from her. What does that do to a mother's heart to be unable to care for her own babies and to raise them herself? They are not staying at the homeless shelter right now; they are in someone's basement. Apparently it's quite cold and they have only one blanket to keep warm. Tara talked about how she would love an electric blanket, and Scott said he would buy her a space heater. Tara thought that was a horrible idea because she is afraid they will run up their friend's electric bill and cause trouble. We made sure they had two new blankets when they left and I pray that they keep them warm.

No one was going to preach today, so my husband persuaded me that I should get up and share a message. I hadn't planned to speak, but when I opened up the New Testament I was drawn to John 14:1-4. I shared a simple thought about God's goodness and the fact that as His follower, even if you don't have a place to call your own in this life, He has a room that He is preparing for you in His kingdom. It is such a privilege to speak about the things of God in front of a group.

We also did the simple call and response that is so common in black churches--

Leader: God is good!
Church: All the time!
Leader: All the time!
Church: God is good!

I have been doing that with my kids lately, to encourage them, but most of all to encourage myself! I know that God is good all the time and I pray that I will become more like Him each day.

Many blessings,
Micah Girl

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