Jesus says, “Behold! I stand at the door and knock. If you open up, I will come in and eat with you….” (Rev. 3:20). The same Jesus also says, “…When I was a stranger, you took me in…” (Matt. 25:35).
Last night I joined a whole bunch of my street friends at a party hosted by St. John Neumann’s. Praise the Lord, SJN’s hosted us with RADICAL HOSPITALITY! We were fed a hamburger cookout, had live musical entertainment/worship, offered testimonials, held a candle light vigil for our brothers and sisters from the streets who died this year, fed more food and desserts, watched a movie and slept indoors at the invitation of the church. Then this morning we were invited to Mass to share the Eucharist and fed breakfast burritos!
This was the first (annual?) A Night Under the Stars offered by Restoring Hope street ministry, which keeps their office at SJN’s. RH was joined by God’s Army street ministry, Divine Mercy Corps of Lubbock street ministry, and Fat Beggars School of Prophets. We shared worship, laughs, food, and now memories. It was wonderful to be a part of this outpouring of love and hospitality.
The love is sacrificial too. We made a mess. I saw volunteers bagging and hauling trash dozens of times. There were piles of clothes to donate. Someone donated a pump-action, hand-washing machine. And when one of my street brothers suddenly became ravaged by his dope addiction and began harassing the pilgrims at worship, I witnessed a number of shepherds step up and form a security squad. (Street ministry is dirty, costly, and sometimes dangerous!)
Fat Beggars School of Prophets has been yearning, praying, and working on Lubbock’s imagination for years now in hopes of getting a church to open her doors to the knocking Lord Jesus. SJN’s is the first to answer the door! Thank you to all who participated. You played a part in answering marathon prayers!
There is such a deep resistance to following Jesus (and it finds fresh stubbornness in the whole When-Helping-Hurts mentality), that it is refreshing to see a church actually BE Jesus for the poor, rather than avoid loving people in a misguided effort not to hurt them. I strongly suspect Pope Francis’s influence plays a part (he is a hero of the faith for me), and I might have to start drawing cartoons depicting grace bestowed rather than grace thwarted!
Oh happy day!
Thank you Jesus for the ministry I received last night. Thank you St. John Neumann’s for the radical hospitality! Thank you Restoring Hope for all the logistical and administrative, behind-the-scenes work and support you supplied!