A community house, started by some friends of friends. An emergency shelter for those in immediate need. A more long term residence while those who were once-homeless get job training and pursue more permanent housing. A place of community. People who live together, guests, friends, believers, those struggling with faith. Those with hope. Those struggling to have some. A place to live and love, to garden, to work, to cook, to form relationships.
Anthony's plot. Started by a group of Jesus-lovers. To narrow the gap between the church and the disenfranchised of the community. A place for growth of community, cultural enhancement, skill development, social ministry and activism for the poor.
And here we are. We prayed and God said, Here you go. We did not know about this place until Sunday. And Monday night, here we are for the weekly community dinner.
Out of our comfort zones? To say the least.
Greeted by a hug. Talked to like we've been friends forever. Her name is Alegra, and her spirit is beautiful. And we meet Jamie and Eric and their two beautiful daughters. And Billy with the bus that gives out clothes to the community. And Bernard and Harold and Sweet Linda. And the beautiful women who've made our wonderful meal. Fried chicken, stewed potatoes, pinto beans, asparagus, salad, rice and gravy and on and on and on.
We contribute nothing. Nothing but our presence.
And after dinner, worship. A group of unlikely friends, misfits, if you will, but brothers and sisters in our Sweet Savior. We sing, we pray, we share our hearts.
And Jonah dances in the middle of the floor, shaking a maraca.
And I think to myself, I want to be a part of this. The closest thing to the New Testament church I've seen. God will use them. The unlikely. The looked-down-upon. The "lowly" of society.
Oh, do they know? Do they know the work He can do through them? Do they know that they are the Chosen? Fishermen. With nothing. Saying, Here I am, Lord.
I look up to them. Human beings. With so many struggles. Still pressing on. Clinging to hope and to the only One who can fill all of their holes. And they are so honest. So open with their struggles, so free in revealing their gaps, tears, the ugliness in their lives. And I envy that.
This is what it's all about. Sharing. Confessing. Bearing one another's burdens.
And I know that God has put us here. We've found our place.
And this. This is not a service project.
This is just love.