Friday, December 23, 2011

Advent Journal 13

A few nights ago our night hospitality volunteer phoned to say that as he was locking up and checking the building before leaving for the night, he heard a noise in the downstairs kitchen. He phoned the rectory. My spouse went over and they searched together. They found a homeless man making a sleeping place for himself, in the rain, in an alcove off the back of the building against the furnace room. The loud bang had been the broken table, left outside for later pick up, that he was trying to muscle around as a roof. The man had a walker.

He was outside. He was no danger to the building. He was given food and some moving blankets and left where he was comfortable.

The following morning I saw him - the walker was the giveaway - getting ready to leave.

Now, before you raise the alarm because he wasn't invited to doss down inside the building, the primary reason is that in case of a fire, he might not be able to get out in time, nor would the fire company know there was anyone inside. The other is that some people are outside because they cannot abide closed places.

This morning I was walking the labyrinth on the parking lot. I had gotten halfway around on the first lap when I saw a man or woman, impossible to tell, talking to the building, waving arms, arguing. I didn't notice the hawks on the steeple cross until I saw the person, then one of the hawks took flight and I saw the second one up on the cross.

I watched the person apparently holding a heated conversation with the front wall of the church. After about ten minutes of just standing there in place, I left the labyrinth, walked through the small parking lot to the left, and around back toward the main parking lot, so I could see the talking person. That was when I saw the walker. The man was talking with the unhoused church sleeper guy, whose name, by the way, is Michael.

At 8:50 when I was finished walking the labyrinth, I saw Michael preparing to leave. As he headed down the two steps with the help of his walker, I watched from my distance in case anything should happen to him. Actually, he could have reached the sidewalk by taking the walkway around the steps, but he seemed adept at walkering stairs. He reached the sidewalk, took a sip from a Dunkin' Donuts cup and boarded the bus which had just reached the corner in front of the church.

In scripture, Michael is an Archangel, the one who leads the forces of God for protection.

In my mythology, hawks are signs of God's presence. Two hawks at once are, well, doubly powerful.

An hour later I was talking with my spouse on the phone and he told me that when he left for work this morning at 7 he saw Michael sleeping in front of the church doors, under the overhang. It was raining again. I said, "Good. I'm glad he's still with us."

Now, what are we going to do about this, dear reader? How are we going to greet this latest invitation from God to open our doors, spend ourselves prodigally, give ourselves away with no thought for ourselves, and make a place where an unhoused person, man or woman, able or differently abled can make a home?

"The sparrow has found her a house and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young, by the side of your altars, O God of hosts, my Ruler and my God." (Psalm 84:2)


Barbara said...

Multicultural ministry need not be limited to ethnicity. We are MULTIcultural in numerous ways. Perhaps we need to REthink some of this stuff.

Lois Keen said...

Amen, Barbarita.

Lois Keen said...

REthink and expand.

Barbara said...

My mind is aswirl. I just need to get past the 'we can't do that' part and do the dreaming, then figure out the logistics and legal stuff.