Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Lenten reflection on homelessness

Homelessness is a growing phenomenon in America.
It takes many forms:
There are bankruptsies, foreclosures and short-sales.
Banks collect homes when the unemployed default on their mortgage payments.
Some people are homeless because of natural disasters like Haiti and Japan.
Some are homeless and without kin, who are called orphans.
Others are homeless due to revolutions and wars...the Palestinians and Libyans come to mind.

I don't know too many people by name who are homeless,
   (although one was on our couch recently for two weeks. )
What is growing, is my list of the near homeless.
friends who once lived securely, but now are unsure of their future.

A pastor friend of mine, David Leaper Moss, of Methodist morals,
took on homelessness in his hometown of Sacramento.
You can read about homelessness in this month's Harper's Magazine,
where David is mentioned.  

Notice the response of Christians in this article to the dispossed, disconnected and homeless.

What would Jesus do?  What might his followers do?

Doreen Potter wrote a new hymn verse in 1975...

Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us;
Teach us as sister, brother, each person to embrace.
Be present Lord, among us, and bring us to believe
We are ourselves accepted and meant to love and live.

Teach us O Lord, your lessons, as in our daily life
We struggle to be human and search for hope and faith.
Teach us to care for people, for all, not just for some,
To love them as we find them or as they may become.

Let your acceptance change us, so that we may be moved
In living situations to do the truth in love.
To practice your acceptance until we know by heart,
The table of forgiveness and laughter's healing art.

Lord, for today's encounters with all who are in need,
Who hunger for acceptance, for righteousness and bread,
We need new eyes for seeing, new hands for holding on:
Renew us with Your spirit;  Lord, free us, make us one!

A Prayer for the Homeless

O God, who would not that any should live without comfort and hope,
have compassion on the multitudes in our day who have no homes,
or who are overcrowded in wretched dwellings.  Shelter those whose
homes and livelihood have been ruined by Nature's wrath.
Bless and inspire those who are laboring for their good.
Stir the conscience of the whole world and especially the Church.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in perfect love for mankind chose to live as one
who had nowhere to lay his head:
We pray for all who are homeless,
all refugees, all who must live in exile or in a strange land;
grant them human friendship in their need and loneliness,
the chance of a new beginning, and courage to take it,
and, above all, an abiding faith in your love and care;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Prayer requests for....Japan, Palestine, Libya, Tunisia, Congo, Sudan, San Diego, India, and Haiti.
There are also five siblings, age 4 through 15 years of age, three girls and two boys, whose parents have died and would like to be adopted into the same family.  Would you pray for these children that their prayer might be answered?  You might pray for the 18 orphanages in Tijuana that hundreds of children call home.  And then there are the ministries of the Inter-faith Shelter, Father Joe's Village,
the Union Rescue Mission, and the Old Folks Home.  Selah!

Ronn Garton

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