Sunday, December 22, 2013

All the Poor and Powerless

All the poor and powerless
All the lost and lonely
All the thieves will come confess
And know that You are holy
And know that You are holy
      - "All the Poor and Powerless" by All Sons and Daughters

This weekend, Resurrection Church had the opportunity to spend time with the poor and powerless.  Last night we brought dinner to the Stand Down House, a housing and rehabilitation center for homeless and at-risk veterans in Lake Worth.  We were able to give them care packages and sing Christmas and worship songs together.  This morning, we visited a memory care facility in Tequesta, Clare Bridge, to sing some more carols and hand out cookies.

It did not take much effort for us in both cases.  A few phone calls, some much appreciated effort putting together care packages by our friends Millie and Aaron, a few bucks ordering some awesome Filipino food to serve (always a family favorite), organizing a few songs and printing out some song sheets, and a little gas money.  All of that was just setting the stage for the Holy Spirit to work.  

When people talk about being church becoming missional, it is easy to miss that we are following God into his mission.  He is already at work in the world and is inviting us to join him.  There is a reason why Jesus sent out his disciples with nothing but the shirt on their backs.  It is deception to believe that the only mission worthwhile involves thousands of dollars and armies of volunteers.  For disciples of Jesus, sometimes our job is to just show up.

Of course, the real heroes are those who have sacrificed careers and comfort to serve full time in places like halfway houses and nursing homes.  Every day they show up to do jobs that none of us would want to do or choose to do.  These people should be honored and celebrated for being willing to help the "least of these."  This Christmas, find a way to honor the men and women around you who do these thankless jobs.  They deserve our encouragement and support.

There is no way to organize or spend enough money to hear my daughter spontaneously pray for the children and families of a group of broken drug addicts.  Or to see a man who was homeless three days ago singing worship songs among people who love him.  Or to look in the eyes of an Alzheimer's patient and see those eyes soften and brighten as they remember the words of a familiar carol.  What we carry is love.  What we offer is family and wholeness.  There is no law against these things.  The church would do well to focus on giving itself away rather than trying to save the world through its efforts.