I used to work in a psych unit. I don’t talk about work on the internet, largely because I could cause my employer distress. But also because of my need for confidentiality. Fat Beggars School of Prophets operates largely in anonymity.
That said, I encountered a lot of street-homeless people in the psych hospital. A lot! But we had one of them develop physical illness and die after a few weeks in the ICU. That patient had no next of kin. That patient had no home. And yet, that patient was beloved by our staff. I will not give the name or even the gender of the patient away on the internet, not even in death. (My apologies to Project Mayhem.) Instead, I will call this prophet: Agent Deep Cover – Jesus moved into a difficult skin!
Agent Deep Cover was one of the most mentally afflicted people I ever met. The voices, the mood swings, the delusions – all more intense than I had ever seen. Agent Deep Cover could go into fits of rage on some occasions. But more often than not, especially after the staff spent many long days and nights winning Agent Deep Cover’s trust, Agent Deep Cover would entertain us with the most precious smiles, laughs, and hilarious dances. I cannot reveal any details, but I will say our good times were uncommonly good!
Then Agent Deep Cover died. Agent Deep Cover qualified for indigent burial services. But our staff mourned. We took time off work to attend the memorial. We got some flowers, one staffer sang, another’s uncle was a pastor who led prayer and gave a meditative message, and the nurses even pitched in and bought a head stone. But it was the cheapest funeral I ever attended, and absolutely none of Agent Deep Cover’s family were located or came.
We did not print up those little memorial cards like you get at most funerals. I keep a Kleenex tissue in a baggie. Sometimes I look at it. Sometimes I look at this photo. Then I give Agent Deep Cover to Jesus – for he has gone ahead to his Father’s House to prepare a place for Agent Deep Cover! (John 14:2).
I thank God for those nurses. I thank God for the love Agent Deep Cover enjoyed at our psych ward. But I would’ve really loved to hand off Agent Deep Cover (and those in similar circumstances) to the living, breathing Body of Christ – the church! I want to see what Jesus does with them there. There is a party in heaven – the only place appropriate for the joy we shared with Agent Deep Cover. But we can’t have that (this side of the Age to Come) if that church house door remains closed to the homeless.
I long for the day that the church opens the door between heaven and earth. You know … at the place where heaven and earth meet, there is a party. Agent Deep Cover lifted the veil for a moment and showed us what we have to gain when we open that door.
“Behold!” (Jesus says) “I stand at the door and knock. If you open up, I will come in and eat with you…” (Rev. 3:20).