Thursday Mornings with Martin
Richard Foster of Carlsbad, CA, USA
I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary among them forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. -Ezekiel 37:26-27
He was already sitting at the park bench, dressed as was customary for those who live on the streets-sandals, shorts, t-shirt, and a bag full of things necessary for survival. I couldn’t believe it! I thought sure he would forget to come. I got out of my car with Community of Christ lessons, Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, and Book of Mormon and made my way to Martin. He was anxious to learn more about our beliefs and principles.
“Hi, Martin, how’s it going today?” I asked. He smiled and said, “Going great, as well as can be expected!”
“Did you study your lessons I gave you?”
Without hesitation, he remarked, “Sure, no problem.” As we began conversing about the lesson, he interrupted and said, “Sometimes I like to read what you give me in my tent at night, but it’s difficult with a flashlight. Reading the material really helps calm me down though. Most of the day I’m just scrambling to make sure I get something to eat. I visit with my friends who are on the street, trying to help them find what they need.”
During our conversation another homeless person stopped by and engaged Martin in conversation. She had pizza and shared it with him, offering some to me as well. “This is what we do on the street,” he said. “We try to take care of each other.” I thought to myself, There’s more care shown here than most people have for them!
Martin found our congregation in Magee Park where we meet most Sundays. We are known as the Park Church. We welcomed him in and, as the relationship grew, invited him to our reunion. His life turned around. He had never been in such a loving community. He shared his story at reunion and many responded with love. This resulted in his request to become a member of Community of Christ so we began our lessons together on Thursday mornings in Magee Park.
I think I learned more from Martin than he did from me. He had a good grasp of our beliefs and principles, and it wasn’t difficult to find agreement in our conversations. Sharing our lives together bonded us. He was baptized in the Pacific Ocean and confirmed a member of Community of Christ. He is off the streets now, has a job working in a shelter for men and transient workers, and is living with a friend who is also a member of the church.
“For everything there is a season” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Seasons of Life
The Christian calendar takes us through many kinds of seasons: religious seasons, seasons in nature, and seasons of the soul. Depending on where you live on this beautiful planet, you may be experiencing the heart of autumn or the hope of spring. A season is a time of transition, reminding us that life occurs in cycles, both inwardly and outwardly. Contemplate what season you find yourself in right now. Maybe you feel called to notice the signs of the shifting earth around you, or perhaps you are drawn to the condition of your soul as you discern what season of life is inviting your attention. How are you formed through all the seasons of life?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.