The Body of Christ is not something formed later, it is not doing in the future:
It is here now.
Here is wherever I am, you are, we are.
I cannot expect to change the entire world and neither can you.
I can change me
you can change you
together we can change each other
perhaps we can change ourselves in such a way that compels others to notice, to join – but this is secondary.
These changes ought to grow Love in me and in us. These changes ought to make me a better lover of people, of the earth, of justice and peace. These changes ought to tangibly affect the people around me here in my community, in my life, in my sphere of influence (but I’ll l come back to this later). These changes ought to change my world and my place in it. And together, these changes ought to change our world and our place in it.
There is something about being homeless that reveals you to the world. You are laid naked for all the world to see your imperfections, your failings. I want to become a more open person. While supervising at the Timothy House I had the privilege to meet a man named Jasyn. He has been homeless several times and is currently staying in our shelter. He is an artist with beautiful and professional talent. He creates music that I call “poetry in motion” and can draw to inspire. He is most proud of his work as a tattoo artist despite it being viewed by the some of the world as worthless or meager. He may never be acknowledged for doing something great, but he is surviving and he is an artist. Life has dealt him a hard hand but he is choosing to pursue his dreams with opposition facing him at each side no matter what he decides. Who ever said the Homeless have nothing to offer the world, who ever said the homeless want to live that way? This man is not so. He is teaching me to be more vulnerable. I have a choice to hide behind the walls of my home or the mobility of my car, but why? If this man and many others are offering themselves up to be seen just as they are with no masks to hide behind, then should not I do the same? Maybe I have a choice but does that give me the right to choose to hide?
Sean and Alena are both over the age of 60 and want to learn how to use a computer. And do you know, I get to be the one to teach them? How blessed am I to be the one to teach someone else anything. Sean would like to work for the newspaper doing photography but first needs to learn how to use a computer. He asks often if he is silly for wanting to re-enter the work force. He knows it will be a lot of work but I tell him if he is willing to work hard at it then maybe it can happen. Sean has never used a computer and often becomes discouraged by that fact and the difficulties of typing. I am encouraged though, by the beautiful people I am allowed to work with. It is difficult to see them struggle through life and computer class. As they get older, the world of technology advances and they are left behind. I want the best for them, even if the best is not available. I want to believe they can achieve anything if they work at it but that is not always the case. Often I am conflicted over such things but I am glad to be part of their journey of life and technology.
– Nicole Little
I have been leading a poetry group each week at the community event Good Works sponsors called Friday Night Life. I want to share a brief story about how I saw Christ there.
Jerry is an elderly man who attends the supper every week. He is social but he doesn’t seem very “intelligent.” For a long time he had been telling me about his poems. I kept asking him to share it with the group but he always said he couldn’t find them. I just thought he was pulling my leg the whole time. Not only that but he would come to the group, carrying his large volume of American poets, and ask other people to read his favorite poems since he didn’t bring his glasses. I wasn’t trying to judge but I began to suspect that this man couldn’t read and had never written any poems in his life. Then one week he brought a paper to the group and said he was prepared to read his poems. He read two original and beautiful poems with tears streaming down his face. They were both sacred memories from his life. Other people affirmed Jerry and encouraged him in his work. I sat stunned and humbled. Stunned by this simple and “unintelligent” man’s eloquence and depth and humbled by my own elitist mentality. I silently thanked God for allowing me to see Jerry as he sees him—a man with plenty to offer despite all appearances.
Often, God has appeared in “the least of these” during my time at Good Works. He always seems to appear to humble me and remind me that I am but dust. And that all people in his body have special and unique gifts that I need in order to experience the fullness of Christ—if I would but see them and believe!
To the outsider, the poetry group might seem like just an outlet for people to express their feelings. But I believe it is more than that; I believe it is a glimpse of the kingdom of God. It is a place where people come and actually want to listen to each other. The members are open and honest. The atmosphere is peaceful. Class distinctions are forgotten. There is no awareness of education levels. Though some write beautifully and others a bit rougher only encouragement is ever spoken. It is a circle of friends sharing a common passion and also sharing their hearts and lives with one another. I am grateful to be the “leader” of this group where I discover, in fact, that it is I who am being led in the ways of the kingdom of God.
– Dan Kauffman