The Least of These
By Richard Foster of Carlsbad, CA, USA
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. —Jeremiah 31:31, 33b NRSV
Our congregation has a mission to reach out to the homeless in our town. We are a small congregation of mostly senior folks with much energy. After selling our church building several years ago, we felt called to move to the coast. We now rent space one block from the Pacific Ocean. It is a chapel in a park.
On Sundays, we are a gathering place for the homeless. This new location provides a great opportunity for us to live out our mission. Fifteen of us help with worship, distribution of clothing, and feeding the homeless. We interact with the homeless, get to know them, and in turn they help us set up for the clothing distribution, serve the food, as well as prepare for our worship experiences.
The homeless also take part in our worship by reading scripture and by playing the guitar and the keyboard we bring every Sunday. It is always a miracle to see what happens.
I met a woman who came through a contact by our pastor. She is “between a rock and a hard place” to say it mildly. However, she is a gifted person who has much to offer others. We invited her to our reunion this summer and she gladly came. Her involvement there changed her life. She can hardly believe all “this goodness” is coming her way.
She has bonded with my wife because they share similar spiritual interests. I have picked her up and taken her to new jobs, and I sincerely enjoy being part of her life. Because of her need to find joy and peace, each day brings something good she has never experienced before—her fears have left her. She has felt God’s word written on her heart. We now have a spiritual bond which I hope will last a long time.
Sometimes we don’t think we have the time to give in these circumstances, but when the Holy Spirit touches us, there is always time to serve others.
Prayer for Peace
Invitational God, help us share your hospitality with the loneliest and the least. For those with no expectations, let us offer hope. To those who know only discouragement, let us offer affirmation. For those who have known injustice, let us offer the peace of Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Practice: Invite People to Christ
Read and reflect on Doctrine and Covenants 162:3b and 163:2b. Pray to be aware of people who might be receptive, and therefore blessed, by your sharing of the message of the Living Christ. Imagine being in relationship with them and inviting them to Christ. In preparation, discover your personal testimony of Christ. “Be persistent in your witness and diligent in your mission to the world.” Repeat this phrase throughout the day: “Christ’s mission, our mission, my mission.”
Today, God, I will go to the gap between a rock and a hard place and offer anyone there a way out.