Please Know...

As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.

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Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Sheep and the Goats in Relational Ministry

I grew up in the Episcopal Church - Literally - My Dad was an Episcopal Priest who served the same church community for his entire ministry of 40 years.  As a result, I've been exposed to Bible passages all my life and made my Christian Commitment decades ago.
One of the interesting things about reading the Bible is that it takes on new meanings to the reader at different stages in life and after various experiences.  Such is the case with this passage from Matthew 25:
The Sheep and the Goats
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
a.     Matthew 25:15 Greek five talents … two talents … one talent; also throughout this parable; a talent was worth about 20 years of a day laborer’s wage.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

As I read this recently, I was struck by how much it relates to Relational Ministry on the Streets of Kensington. 

These women and men, daughters and sons, Moms and Dads - well, you name the relationship - live on these streets.  Over these couple of years, I've had the privilege of providing food, water, and clothes.  I've identified serious physical illness and visited in the hospital.  I've visited in prison and written to a judge on one person's behalf.  I've invited into my home a recovering former addict/inmate in hopes of further recovery.    

I say "I've" but it's hardly me.  Something beyond my understanding allows me to do nothing else.  Results (representing one man and one woman) have included being told that I "scrapped him out of the gutter." He'll be going to church with me for the third consecutive week tomorrow! 

Malinda, a daughter from Delaware County, held on to me tight for a reassuring embrace between 'dates' last Sunday.

This is a ministry as I have never known… Again, it's not ME.  I'm just showing up to Emerald City and its surrounding bridge communities and letting events and conversations happen.

I'm loving every moment of this.  There is/are tremendous sadness, joy, tears, and laughs.  I wouldn't trade this for anything! 

I fully understand that going to Emerald City and its surrounding bridge communities is not for everyone.  Some people shouldn't go.  That does not mean that you can't help make this happen.  As the addicted man stands on the street corner begging for change… As the addicted woman 'dates' to support her medicinal needs, I write this to you asking for your prayerful/financial support to keep my ministerial "high" going.  I've never been so blunt, so thrilled, so humbled, as to ask you for support and to serve these people in such a way.

If you're reading this blog within the realm of some other similar organization/ministry to which you feel called, please support them.  We are all doing the same basic thing from varying perspectives. 

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