Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sunday night we took our college ministry downtown to work alongside Horizon Urban Ministries to serve the homeless. We split off into three different teams:

Kitchen Crew cooked up a homemade dinner with dessert.

Prayer Walkers went to nearby Balboa Park to pray as they walked (hence the name) and invite people they met to come for a meal.

Table Crew decorated the tables, set-up dinnerware, and served the meal when the time came. (This was my crew.)

I'm always nervous in doing new things. Once it came time to serve I wasn't quite sure what to do. I knew what to do, but how should I interact with these people? What could I talk with them about? For a few minutes I wandered around the perimeter of the room, trying to figure out how I'd dive in.

I've seemed to adopt a policy to 1-2-3-Jump! Except if I give myself a 1-2-3, then I end up giving myself another countdown, so I've got to just jump. Like diving into a cold pool--you've just got to do it.

It was fun. I enjoyed myself and serving these people. I did spill water on a man and told him that's why I've never been a waitress. For all my hesitation you know what, it was easy.

On the ride home we were sharing our experiences, for myself I felt I was personal, but not "Hey, how are you doing? Let's talk" personal. I can really see areas the Lord is pushing me to grow toward--mostly making relationships with people.

When I came home I was prompted to pick up a book I had bought recently on Mother Teresa (Heart of Joy: The Transforming Power of Self-Giving) and it continued to open my eyes to the needs of these people and some of my own reactions. I wanted to share it, because I think you'd enjoy it (and partly so I don't leave what we did Sunday as a memory).

Here are some excerpts that spoke to me:

- There are thousands of people dying for a piece of bread. There are thousands upon thousands who die for a little bit of love, for a little bit of acknowledgment.

- I am convinced that the greatest of all sorrows is to feel alone, to feel unwanted, deprived of all affection. It consists in not having anyone, in having gotten to the point of forgetting what human contact is, what human love is, what it means to be wanted, to be loved, to have a family.

- Our poor do not need compassion or condescendence; what they need is love and aid. But we have to be aware that the poor are worthy of love, that they are great. This will lead us to love them and serve them.

- St. John says, "If anyone says 'My love if fixed on God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar" (1 Jn 4:20). Therefore, both you and I, let us turn our eyes to our families, since charity begins at home. Do we really understand the poverty of Christ, the poverty of our poor, of our home, of our communities? Sometimes it is hard for me to smile at my sisters. It is easier to smile at those outside than to smile at our own.

- We have thousands of lepers. They are wonderful, they are admirable, even though their flesh is disfigured. Every year we offer the lepers a Christmas party. Last Christmas I told them that they have a gift from God, that God has a special love for them, that they are very acceptable to God, that what they have is not a sin. An old man, who was completely disfigured, tried to get close to me. He said, "Say it again. That has been good for me. I have always heard that no one loves us. It is wonderful to know that God does love us. Say it again."


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