Thursday, July 19, 2012

Seeing a Need- Living Your Faith/MANN

Every once in a while a person has opportunity to touch the holy of life where compassion is lived out in such a profound way that it causes new directions – new ways to understand or view life. It’s almost like looking from the underside of a tapestry where you see the leftover thread, the knots, the bulkiness of material and yes, even the mistakes.
Several years ago I travelled with nine other members of our church’s National Evangelism Team to join in the mission of a sister church. The poor, the abandoned and the oppressed often led morning worship. The message was simple: "God loves you." We sang songs of grace and encouragement. We prayed for each other. We shared communion. At different times during worship, destitute persons would testify how God was working in their lives through the mission. A homeless man might offer a prayer of gratitude for a nights rest. Someone just released from prison would stand and give thanks. People came from under bridges, culverts and alleys - it made no difference who you were or what you had done. The important thing was to celebrate God’s healing love together.

Sitting on a weathered beaten window-sill late at night after worshipping with the street community, I think of the woman who had been off the street one week. Sam asked her to serve communion and as she bend down to serve me, a small cup tipped and the red fluid spilled across her hand and mine. It was after this experience I wrote these words titled  Come into the Light

God, you hold me
as I risk new experiences
as I follow your lead
as I accept the uncomfortable
as I explore it as your truth.

God, you come to me
through the dark, sad eyes of my black brother and sister,
through the homeless,
the hungry,
the rejected.

God, you touch me
through the alcoholic
the prostitute
the vendor,
the prisoner.

God you watch me and make me feel no guilt for my wholeness, yet
you call me to share out of it.
you ask me to use my strength the take down fences and borders that limit.
you show me unconditional love that reveals itself in compassion acts.

God, you confront me to seek out those who have not discovered their need for you.
You challenge me to speak with others who have not found a voice to honour you and themselves.
You convict me to share with others all that have been graciously shared with me.
You teach me to free those in exile and you show the way to do this.
Your people have proven there is hope:
- to wait for a promise
- to listen for a word
- to receive a touch.

The Spirit is here in her fullness, giving birth to wholeness.

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26).

Donna Mann


Peter Black said...

Ah, the underside of the tapestry is such a marvellous and enduring metaphor, isn't it, Donna.
Thank you for sharing this personal account with a poignancy that touches deep.
The inadvertent sharing of the communion wine ... how precious and illustrative -- even demonstrative -- of the very meaning of "Communion."
And the poem? A beautiful application.

Donna Mann said...

Thank you for your words, Peter. It is a memory that is deep within my faith experience. I'm happy it resonated with you.

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