Refined

After church service yesterday I went to a play called Silent, a one man 80 minute show depicting a homeless man.    It was remarkable in both its performance and in its refraining from providing the answer.  There was no call for services and no suggestion that “if only we did this or that” homelessness would cease.   There was no hero.  Instead, the show reveals a deeply troubled, wounded, and frightening man trying his best to keep his dignity while living on the streets. 

God will refine us with the refiner’s fire Micah proclaims.  I preached to the church that, not only on the fire of the last day, but in the fires of everyday, we are refined.  The fire we walk into this day Jesus will use.  Jesus will use what may have been intended for ill or for good to release us from the sins that weigh us down.  “Amen,” said the church. 

The play preached that some do not make it through to the other side in this world.  Some remain mad caught in the webs of past and present sin.  There was no “amen.” 

One of the repeated lines in the play was “all they see is the blanket” referring to the blanket he sleeps under.  And, the script emphasized that only one in 600 will look a homeless man in the eye. 

What is striking is that there were many opportunities for people to look the man portrayed in the play in the eye before he became homeless.  Having experienced a deep trauma in his youth, he found no one to walk through the fire with him.  He was left with the obsession, the pain, and the insanity. 

There is likely someone around us who is walking through trouble this day.  I encourage you, Jesus followers, to not leave them alone.  Call, write, or show up on their door step.  Put yourself into the fire with them.  For you can bring Jesus there.  Go, believing that what the fire uses to destroy, Jesus uses to refine.   It will take time, but watch how the person you are with, the one you pray for, over time becomes like gold and silver, glowing with the shine that is their truest God created self.

                      Reverend Heather Miner

                       Pastor of North Long Beach Christian Church

 

For those seeking to help, we have a food pantry in our church office which supplies food for housed families and for those who live on the streets.  Often, Monica and I are able to spend time in prayer with those who come in. 

Food that can be opened and eaten right away (Vienna sausages, peanut butter crackers, etc.) as well as non-perishable good are always needed.  If you prefer to send a check so we might pick up items on sale at the local grocery, send it to North Long Beach Christian Church, 1115 E. Market St., Long Beach CA 90805.  Designate your check “Food Pantry.”  Thanks! 

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