This week has been abnormal. I’ve been sicker than normal. Weaker than normal. But also more blessed and excited. Christmas is coming and I am preparing well this year. More attempts than normal have been made to slow life down and prepare for Jesus’ birthday commemoration. The community around me is closer than it has been, honestly since I was a teenager I think and I am having a hard time finding things to really complain about. Then there is my church.
Now, church is different in meaning for many people. The word could bring up images of the stain-glassed cathedral your grandma got funeralized in or the basement of a friends place you drink in. There can be a case made that both are your “church”.
In the last six or so months my personal definition has been transformed substantially as my attendance has been less at the mega-gatherings and more at the table with community, and on the street with the 3’o clock people. These serve as my worship times. My teaching times. And my listening times. Nothing against the mega-gathering, but as my life slows down so does my desire to participate in the event rather than saving my energy for the fellowship times.
I love my mega-gathering church still and believe they do good like two of the things they are allowing me to be involved in. The first is that in an hour or so I am meeting a friend at the library and giving him an envelope. What’s in the envelope? Money, enough to pay his rent and some utilities. Provided by Change for a Dollar.
We’ve been friends for a couple years and walked through his hobo spider bites, broken foot, and MRSA—all while on the streets. Then when he got an apartment from JOIN, an amazing agency that helps people get off the streets and we helped fill in some gaps, everything but a job. He finally got a job a couple months ago but it’s only part time and he is not making enough to pay his rent. So the last few weeks he has been cleaning up and preparing to pack because he was only given it for a year and hasn’t had enough income to keep it. He lost his food stamps when he got his job, which took a while to get reinstated at a lower rate! He is keeping a fairly good attitude in this all. He is saving some money and searching for another part time job, but was willing to just let the apartment go if he only had one month to keep it so someone else could move in for a year.
I was able to say. “No. We are paying your rent for January. You have 4 more weeks to look for another job.”
All because people put one dollar in a bucket on Sunday, someone will be off the street for the coldest month of the year. How Jesus is that? How “church” is that as Ice cube would say?
Next time I will tell you about how churches are uniting will be feeding 150 or more homeless in our neighborhood. Till the next episode….