I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
~ Philippians 4:12 - 13
Yesterday we attended a wedding in downtown Houston. As we walked the street in front of the venue, surrounded by towering structures and the expansive growth of the city, we also could not ignore the homeless that in some places, lined the foundation of one structure for nearly a city block.
As we walked under street lamps that looked more like modern-day crosses, I still looked in the eyes of those I saw living on the street. There was a time, just over a decade ago, that I could tell you the names of many of those living in the shadows when my ministry was predominately on these streets. In some ways, I look into their eyes because our eyes don't seem to change, and I guess I want to see a familiar face.
In many ways I'm thankful for the stranger staring back at me, as so many of us worked so hard to help provide options to those we served, but the reality is that many of those we served have either moved on with their lives or died.
Jesus reminds us that the poor will be with us always.
It's a simple fact. For me I realize that there will always be a division between those who have two coats, and those that are naked.
I value the words of the letter to the Philippians because it encapsulates the life of someone who has managed to live in both worlds and has found peace.
As the wedding ended last night and the wedding party ventured out onto the concrete sidewalks to do a celebratory walk around the block, cheering, and waving glow sticks along the way, just for a moment even those who were homeless seemed to be part of the celebration as those walking and cheering began to share glowsticks and party favors with those they passed.
For just a moment the energy filled the block, and if you weren't directly under a street lamp, then you really didn't see a difference between everyone on the street at that time. We simply were one in celebration.
I am reminded that John the Baptist proclaimed to those of his day that the, "Kingdom of God is at hand."
I see these moments, and hear these words as they echo off the skyscrapers around us. I wish for more moments like these, and can't wait until we all may find a way to live in harmony, and contentment, with the realization that life like this is possible for all.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.