Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bounty, Burden, and Blessings

I spent a good portion of this past Sunday at two events held in the Downtown area. My son quipped that I might just be the only one in town to attend both of these events. I'm really not sure about that, but I'm glad I went.

The first event was a potluck hosted by the Downtown Vineyard church, held at the Lincoln Park Barn. This meal was in lieu of a more 'formal' service, and was the second year the church has done this. Pastor Paul Watson gave a brief talk after everyone had eaten, and referenced Acts 2, specifically the section where "all the church gathered together, and all of their needs were met".

Pastor Paul added that one reason he loves the church is that people come together with both their gift
s and their needs, and as the church comes together they work as a community to meet those needs with their gifts. He concluded with a familiar admonition; "We are the church".

This was illustrated in a profound way later that afternoon, when the homeless advocacy group Housing First! No More Deaths! conducted a march remembering those homeless persons in the Grand Valley who have died in recent years. Many of the marchers carried crosses with the names of these deceased persons written on them.

In covering the activities of this group in the past, I have felt and sensed some uneasiness on the part of myself and others as to the seemingly militant approach of this group to what is by definition a community issue, one that must be solved by cooperation and consensus. This time around I got the distinct impression that, despite their symbolism, this group is committed to working with other, similarly-minded groups in improving the situation for those without homes in the Grand Valley, along with rousing sufficient rabble when called to do so.

The march went from Whitman Park in the heart of Downtown to Hawthorne Park near my house, and received a good amount of local media coverage, including an excel
lent photo on the front page of Monday's Sentinel.

After the march, the regular Sunday meal for the homeless was being set up at Hawthorne Park. Different churches in the community assist with t
he provision of food and manpower each week; members of Bookcliff Baptist Church were there this day.

Near the park's northwest corner, the annual memorial o
bservance for those homeless who have died was taking place at the tree and granite marker dedicated to that purpose.

There was a significant amount of a
ctivity in the park for a chilly winter afternoon, and I was impressed and humbled by the amount of dedication and organization present in the providing of collective gifts for those with needs to match.

There is always a place to do more to help those with similar needs in whatever area of the country or the world you may reside. I don't have much more to add in words, so I'll let some of the scripture that Pastor Paul was referring, and a few photos, do the rest.

Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.

All the believers were together and had everything in common.
Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he
had need.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Best wishes for safe travels and joyous moments with families and loved ones this week ahead.

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