Monday, December 15, 2014

Prayers for the Broken

On Friday night, on the way back from the Broward Chorale concert, my spouse rolled down his window to talk to one of the homeless men with a cardboard sign asking for money at an intersection.  He said, "I don't have any cash.  But if you tell me your name, I'll pray for you."

The homeless man said, "Really?  You would do that?"

My spouse said yes, the man gave his name, and then the light changed.  We've prayed for that man, and the woman and her kids about to lose their house that my spouse met at a different intersection, all week-end.

I wish I could do more to change the social structures that lead to homelessness, more than just supporting Habitat for Humanity. I wish I could magically provide more mental health counseling and job training and cheaper housing--where did I put that magic wand?

Of course, I don't have a magic wand.  And prayer is not a magic wand, not in the way I'd like it to be:  wave it and problems disappear.

So, I make contributions to Habitat and donations of other things and I pray and I watch and I make eye contact and I give granola bars to the people on the street corners. And I pray some more.

Our Advent messages remind us to stay alert.  The texts from Isaiah give us the prophet's vision of a world where the brokenhearted will be healed, where the crooked pathways will be made straight.  It's a prophecy that seems especially visionary in the dark days of December.

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