O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Frost has visited us this morning, and some of our flowers seem to have folded themselves in to remain warm. It's mornings like these that I am drawn to remember those that I used to care for who lived under bridges. Cold concrete just seems to hold the memory of winter longer. A couple of layers of cardboard, then a blanket, seem to help, but for those who are homeless, the thought of cold, dark nights, seem to overwhelm even those persons with the best resources.
Years ago I used to hand out bus tokens on Montrose in Houston to many of the homeless teens that we helped. Back then a person could ride the Metro for up to eight hours, the length of a cold night. I would encourage the person to get on the bus, obey the driver, and "don't bother anyone." Not always advise taken, but for some, I knew it was the only shelter that they would have that would be both warm and safe.
During one Christmas, I was invited to visit a couple that lived up under a bridge near the bayou. They had managed to create a shelter, made from some pieces of plywood from a work site, and tarps. Just inside there was an old mattress, sitting on the angle of the concrete under the bridge. A steel grate revealed the street above, and the sounds of trucks and cars would echo along the waterway as they passed above.
On a shelf, made of where the concrete met the beams of the bridge, a candle and three small figures stood. As the light from the candle danced in the wind, shadows on the wall reflected the primitive scene. A woman, man, and a baby laying on some grass. No eyes, no ears, no mouths, just the shadows. They were happy that I pointed out how the shadows brought them to life.
The light, shining in the darkness, in the small space, cast a greater vision. Just as the smallness of Jesus, born in barn, brought forth the greatest light humanity has ever known.
Within the lines on the wall, I could almost hear the words, "Behold, I bring you great tidings!"
Within the smallness, I experienced God's greatness. While being moved by the simple scene, I found myself awed by the immense greatness of God's love appearing in my world. Without the small flicker of the candle, shining in the darkness, there is little to be seen.
While the cars continued to rush above, the drivers completely unaware of what was below, like simple people who continue to walk in darkness, I realized how everything changes with the light.
The light that exists still today.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.