Sunday, January 13, 2013


I recently met this couple/family who come to serve the homeless on Saturday mornings... and it turns out they recently moved here (and into my neighborhood) and he is one of the pastors at a church right down the street.  The church where he works is right smack in the middle of our affluent community and from the outside looking in, the facilities are BIG and upscale. If I were to stereotype, I would say that it's pretty likely that most of their membership are rich snobs. :-)   And I say that with the utmost respect, since I'm sure I would have no problem fitting right in.  I don't know much about the church really.  I went to a Beth Moore event there once.  They have a really good Child Development Center, which I know because Jacob went to kindergarten there.  I'm pretty sure they have a vibrant youth ministry.  And from their sign out by the road, I know they have ALOT going on... mission trips, foreign language worship times, services to the community, etc.  And one night of the week, they have Celebrate Recovery.  Through CR, the guys that started the homeless ministry on Saturday mornings met this pastor.  (At least, I *think* this is how it all came about).

He and his wife are those kind of people who make you feel really good every time you see them- a hug, a kiss on the temple, a huge smile.....  It's apparent they have a genuine love and concern for people. 

I overheard someone say yesterday that once a week, Mr. Pastor drives a church van down to the same location where we serve the homeless and picks up anyone that wishes to go to Celebrate Recovery. After a meal, they have the CR meeting, and then he drives them back and drops them off.

I have to tell you that if I decided to go to a CR meeting at this particular church location, I would be expecting a certain kind of people working on their "recovery".  (CR is for all kinds of recovery, not just drug and alcohol addiction).  They would be people that look alot like me... having bathed in the last 24 hours, mostly my ethnicity, with a job, etc. This is not an inner city church, after all.  Quite the opposite.  I wouldn't be expecting such "raw-ness".  I wouldn't be expecting people fresh from the streets and probably high and/or drunk right at that very moment.

I have no problem with the existence of a nice church in the midst of a wealthy community.  Rich people need church, too.  :-)  But, the church simply HAS to get outside of itself.  The poor and oppressed and needy, who the church LIVES to serve, are seldom going to look or behave like we wish they would.  And it's one (good) thing to go and meet the needy on their turf and serve them, but it's quite another to go and get the needy and welcome them to YOUR turf once a week with a hot meal and a lesson about Jesus.  So much so, that when I heard about Mr. Pastor driving down to pick up the homeless for CR, my eyes welled up with tears and I had to go and tell he and Mrs. Pastor how great I thought that was.  You know people like them are always baffled when they get praise for being the hands and feet of Jesus.  They don't even realize it's a big deal.  But it is.  When I grow up, I want to be like Mr. and Mrs. Pastor.

It reminds me of part of a Sara Groves song, "Kingdom Comes", which I hadn't heard in forever....

When fear engulfs your mind
Says you protect your own
You still extend your hand
You open up your home

That's a little stone that's a little mortar
That's a little seed that's a little water
In the hearts of the sons and the daughters
The kingdom's coming