Another beautiful night of the Homeless Outreach Ministry at the bridge. Volunteers and homeless together, just being friends, grace falling all around. The hungry were fed physical food and spiritual food, but what I think they take in more than anything is Grace.
They know they are undeserving, as we all are, and yet they are moved by this feeding. Some tear up, some let the tears fall, some tell me they are in awe of the kindness and sincerity of all who are out there helping and feeding. Some hug and one yelled out as he left on his bicycle, "I love you all".
One shared that he had just been baptized the night before.
Then I teared up.
People have asked, "How can you love such people, people who are dirty and felons, with issues galore?
I stand at the foot of the bridge every Tuesday night and see all our volunteers doing just that. . .loving and issuing grace through the muck and mire. . .and I see it softening and changing the hardness of ones heart, and we can do this because Jesus did this for us.
From What's So Amazing About Grace. . .
Jesus gained the power to love harlots, bullies, and ruffians. . .he was able to do this only because he saw through the filth and crust of degeneration, because his eye caught the divine original which is hidden in every way-in every man! First and foremost he gives us new eyes. . .
When Jesus loved a guilt-laden person and helped him, he saw in him an erring child of God. He saw in him a human being whom his Father loved and grieved over because he was going wrong. He saw him as God originally designed and meant him to be, and therefore he saw through the surface layer of grime and dirt to the real man underneath. Jesus did not identify the person with his sin, but rather saw in this sin something alien, something that really did not belong to him, something that merely chained and mastered him and from which he would free him and bring him back to his real self. Jesus was able to love men because he loved them right through the layer of mud.
The volunteers at the bridge have had grace-healed eyes. . .they see the potential in others for the same grace that God has so lavishly bestowed on us.
"To love a person means to see him as God intended him to be."
I am so happy and honored to stand with my brothers and sisters in Christ who have been blessed with grace and to turn it around on to our guests. What a privelege to take a gift we did not deserve and be able to hand it on to others.
I heard one of our guests say tonight, "I don't like having to take, I was always the giver."
He was told this was just for a season and when his next season arrived, he could pay it forward.
He promised he would.
"Man is born broken, He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue."
I'm seeing the glue and I've witnessed the mending and when one is healed and redeemed, oh what a joy!
I'm asked how I can love these people?
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.
People are thirsting for grace. Let's give them a drink.