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Journal of an Alien Street Priest
There is a lot going on in the world . . . The Roman Church has a new pope; the world is faced with many wars; there is a growing gap between the wealthy and the ones who have nothing; millions of poor migrate, seeking a home where they can live securely, away from poverty and war.
All any of us really need is to survive as human beings.
Each day I serve young men and women who have next to nothing. I remember one night last week, when a young man said to me he had not eaten in three days. My heart broke. I hear this all the time, and it seems endless - one meal, one pair of socks after another.
We tend to talk of groups of people- i.e. giving to “the homeless," rather than to look in the face of an individual, call him or her by name. When we talk about individuals, we have feelings, we have sorrow, and pain. With an individual, we engage ourselves in their lives, and want to provide for them to the best of our ability. I see each person as an individual, I work with that person, and that is what I try to get others to do as well. It is hard to work this way. It is difficult to see the pain, the sadness, the stubbornness of the person I’m working with. It is wearing to see the damage a person does to his or her own life, to see the futility.
But then, I am reminded that in Jesus there is always hope. We are his hands, his feet, he serves through us and he holds our hope. We are called simply to take one step at a time. I am reminded by the Gospel each day that we are called to give totally of ourselves, as Jesus did. We want rewards, but Jesus calls us to renounce the desire for rewards. Becoming like Christ is the only reward worth desiring in following Christ. And when one becomes like Christ everything else loses its appeal.
John Wesley said, "All the world is my parish," and as I have done this ministry for nearly nineteen years, I have learned how true this is. There are times I feel envy of pastors with their nice churches, their nice incomes. But then I laugh, because the whole world is my parish. And the more I give up the more all the rest loses its appeal. My invitation to you is to join me in giving up. Give it all up, and lose yourself in service to Christ, for that is where we find our real satisfaction.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for journeying with me, for making this ministry possible. For me personally, it is a real joy to do this work. Painful, yes, but always a real joy, and I owe that to each one of you, so thank you
I also invite you to join me at Pride on June 29-30, as we celebrate Queer rights, and celebrate all of our rights. We work the accessibility booth and we need help, so come join us.
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