It’s very hard to come face to face with the evidence of an unjust society.
It is uncomfortable.
Every time I have been out on the street in this ministry I have been confronted with my own privilege and it is uncomfortable. It’s like walking into another reality – it may not be Oz but we’re certainly not in Kansas anymore.
I’m new to this ministry and part of my training included attending as many Grace – Street Ministry’s Sunday services as my schedule would allow; if you are unfamiliar with the service it occurs outside on the corner of Preble and Oxford Streets. This particular Sunday Pastor Dave was on and I was late. It was unseasonably warm and the grape juice on our communion table was attracting yellow jackets.
That morning there was a good sized crowd for the service. By the time I arrived folks had already formed into a tight circle for the service. As I was trying to figure out how best to break into the circle—a large, tattooed, long haired, motorcycle gang type, intimidating man looked at me, smiled broadly and opened-up the circle for me. I was immediately embarrassed because I realized that in my civilian life I would have crossed the street if I saw this man walking towards me. The service was lively; it was made livelier by the persistent presence of yellow jackets that were drawn by the grape juice to worship with us. They caused quite a stir we danced around and swatted and laughed as we tried to avoid getting stung. After the service, one woman asked Pastor Dave to pray with her—they were by the communion table and most of our group had disbursed, but not the yellow jackets. Indeed they were becoming tangled up with her long hair. My friend (the man I would have crossed the street to avoid) disengaged the yellow jackets from her hair and gently shepherded them away.
We -- housed and homeless are in this world together. We are God’s children and we stumble in darkness unaware of the miracle---in this shared sacred space, where all of God’s creation resides.