No One Passes without a Hug
By Larry Haines of Chandler, AZ, USA
And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you…And when was it that we saw you sick and in prison and we visited you? And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ —Matthew 25:38–40 NRSV
“Brothers and sisters of mine are the hungry, who sigh in their sorrow and weep in their pain. Sisters and brothers of mine are the homeless, who wait without shelter from wind and from rain.”
—“Brothers and Sisters of Mine” by Kenneth I. Morse, © 1974
Church of the Brethren General Board, Community of Christ Sings 616
The Chandler congregation has been involved with the I-HELP (Interfaith Emergency Lodging Program) since early 2015. We provide housing, dinner, breakfast, and a manna bag lunch for over 20 homeless people once a month. We also provide the pickup place Monday thru Friday while they wait for the shuttle to take them to the church providing services for that day.
Several of the visitors have found jobs, and several have found housing over the course of this time. Each person who attends has been deeply thankful for our help, and many have commented on the love they feel. The best part is a new person who asks, “Who is the person who gives the hugs?” The answer is Lee, who is the first one there, and no one can get past her without getting a hug. It is a joy to see.
Prayer for Peace
We would be your arms, God, extended in love. We would be sanctuaries from the harsher side of life. We would be Christ’s peace.
Spiritual Practice: Hand Ministry
Place your hand on a piece of paper and trace around it to create an outline. Add details of fingernails, wrinkles, or skin color if you want. Look at your hand and meditate on what you do with your hands each day. Ask God to direct your thoughts to a person in need of blessing, kindness, or healing touch. Pray for wisdom about the specific act needed by this person, and discern how and when you will use your hands to complete this ministry.
Today, God, I will be the hands of Jesus, serving in his stead.