United Church of Christ

Homeless

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. - Psalm 139:9-10

Lots of people are homeless, for real. Their belongings (what a strange word) are all in one bag. They sleep outside. Some are urban pioneers and sleep on church steps or under highways. They don’t like shelters. They are shelter makers. Some have communities and know the schedules for the local soup kitchens. They rise at dawn. They head south in the winter. They depend on what can only be called the right hand of God.

Even more people are spiritually homeless. They/we have a bed and sheets. We wonder if we should declutter or if we have too many belongings. We wonder if we are taking proper care of the boiler or the gutters. We also rise at dawn and reach out for the right hand of the Almighty and wonder where it went.

Congregations are soup kitchens for the spiritually hungry. They are shelters for the spiritually homeless. Respite lodging for the people who are in need of respite. Domiciles for the spirit. Nests for the baby bird in all of us, no matter how old we are. Nursing homes for those who can’t bathe or tie their own shoes any more. Rehab centers for those who should have done prehab but forgot. Habitats for humanity.

Life is one long displacement and replacement. Where did we put that belonging that mattered the most to us? Not our cell phone or our keys. The belonging that matters most is our belonging to that right hand, the One habitually reaching for us.

Prayer

When displacement and replacement follow us around, make a place for us, Right-handed One.

ddauthordonnaschaper.jpgAbout the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Frances: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.

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