A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dave's Deep Thoughts

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

It's usually begins with looks of curiosity at first.
After all, It's not everyday
that a 55 passenger charter bus pulls up to a homeless shelter.

Curiosity transitions to bewilderment
as 55 teens start emerging out of the bus.

By the time the musical instruments, risers,
sound equipment, and risers
start to be systematically assembled,
our group has their full attention.

Some just observe from a distance.
Others ask questions.
Very few offer to help,
for they have learned that in the world of homelessness,
they are often seen as unimportant.
And there is always someone else who is charge.

We bring music,
and we also bring a message.
Sometimes, that is difficult to do
when music falls upon the ears of those
whose lives are filled with discordant sounds.

Messages of hope
are difficult to receive
when life seems to be without hope.

60 minutes of music,
seeking to plant itself in hard soil.

Our group has engaged in this outreach for years.
There is no doubt that the experience causes change in us,
but what change does it really effect
upon those who sleep under a highway overpass?

The music arouses some smiles.
It initiates some hand clapping.
Once in a while an Amen or Hallelujah is sounded.
It even cause a few to dance in a freedom that is rarely afforded to them.

But ultimately the music ceases.
The gear is packed.
The bus is loaded.

What is for a while
a Kingdom moment in the desert,
appears to fade away.

That is until musician meets the listener.

His name was Brian.
He was originally from Ithica, NY.
He was unable to keep his job.
He had no family to speak of,
and so when his life fell apart,
there was no one to catch him in his free fall to homelessness.

After the music faded,
we sat at table and talked.
He asked,
Why did you home all the way from Pennsylvania to be here?

It was a good question.
It took a lot of fund raisers,
a lot of planning,
many rehearsals,
and a lot of prayer.

Why were we there?

As the question rolled around in my mind,
only one answer came to my mind.

God wanted us to be with you today,
to tell you that you matter,
that He hasn't forgotten you.

It was the only answer that seemed honest.

When Brian heard that,
he smiled and bowed his head.
After a few long moments,
he looked up and said,

That's good to know.
I haven't heard from God in a while.

We took time to pray
that each of us would live each day
in the awareness of God's presence.

I don't understand why Brian walks this earth without a mailing address.
I have no idea if God has something better in store for him in this life.
What I do know is that God cares deeply about Brian.
And for whatever reason,
on a sunny, brisk spring morning,
God wanted me
to let him know.

For God so loved (insert your name) that He gave
His only Son
John 3:16

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