"We pray for you often!"
With those words, spoken by a gentleman in the congregation near the
tail end of my sermon, tears began streaming down my face. I choked up
and my voice cracked as I finished off my sermon and closed in prayer.
My message this Sunday had been on the rich young ruler (Matthew
19:16-22). I was drawing my message to a close and had just shared
Matthew 22:36-40 where Jesus calls us to love God with everything we
have and to love our neighbor as our self. As I spoke briefly on that
passage and it's meaning, I mentioned the sense of community within our
fellowship and how touched I was by some of our street entrenched
congregants who reached out with compassion when they heard of the
recent passing of my dad.
It was then that one of the men, a homeless individual, spoke up. His words brought those aforementioned tears.
"Rick every day we all gather behind the library. We join in a circle and pray. We pray for you often during those times."
I was humbled.
As my daughter said shortly after, "This is the side of homelessness
people don't see." It is true. Many will reach out and help but just as
many will pass by, silently judging those on the street for their
addictions. I have heard to many people say, "They brought it on
themselves, the should just get a job, etc."
Today I heard their heart....and I wept.
Loving our neighbor has never been more concretely demonstrated to me than today.