Saturday, January 26, 2013

Devotional 1-26-13

Sunday, a little late in the service, a young man came into our service. I noticed his back pack and his appearance. I knew that he was a "street person." He sat in the back. When we were taking up the collection of the money, I saw Lee Oxley pass the plate to him. The young man reached into his right pocket and pulled out a few coins and put them in Lee's offering plate. Lee patted him on the back to thank him for his meager offering. That touched my heart. On the way back from presenting our church’s offering, I stopped and told him my name and asked his. I shook his hand and noticed that his finger tips were black, probably from frost bite. I invited him to stay for lunch and told him to find me. I also noticed that Ann Ratcliff spoke to him several times, I assume to help him with our worship service.

After church, to my surprise, he was there for lunch. I immediately invited him to sit with me to eat. As luck would have it, Chuck Gruber sat near him too. I just started talking to him by telling him that I was glad he was with us and between Chuck and me, we gently got to know him a little bit.

He lived in Michigan and was headed to Florida to live with a friend (the friend died). He stated that he could not stay at the City Mission but was able to eat there. We talked about his family. He has a sister that he talks to and a grandmother that he was not able to see at Christmas (he bowed his head at this as he said he knew she may not see another Christmas). He probably could not stay at the Mission due to the alcohol that I smelled on his breath. He finally told me that he has been living in his tent on the river bank. He comes to Common Grounds. I invited him to come back next Sunday as we will have soup for him to eat.

Did he smell good? Not. He smelled of wood smoke from the river where he lives in a tent and a hint of alcohol. Did I go to church expecting to meet him? Not. Have I thought of him ever since I met him? Everyday.

His key statement to me was when I talked to him about his choices in his life. Simply he said it is freedom. It’s not up to me to make judgments but acknowledge having met him. Praying for him and others as it is very cold.
Jean Ramsey

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