It started Sunday with Up Town. I have a friend with a wonderful ministry to children and families in our community. She is taking time to study with the goal of one day being ordained. I admit a bias toward ‘the people of God’ (laity) as opposed to ‘the clergy’ so I pumped her as to why in the world she would want to pursue this course. One of her great motivators is that she would like to be used of God in bringing ‘communion’ to people. When I learned that I invited her to lead a service at Up Town. In this service she would pray and distribute broken bread and grape juice (we have a lot of addicts). She did a marvellous job reminding the broken people of Up Town that Jesus was broken for us and that we continue as His body in the world. She had arranged to lead a song but in the excitement of the service forgot. This turned out to be an inspired omission for shortly afterward we had a friend take a seizure. We called an ambulance and then gathered to anoint and pray for our friend. When the fire and ambulance staff arrived we played the forgotten song and video “Call on Jesus.” This was a calming balm over us all while the workers did their job and it was a witness to these visitors of what we are all about. Later several shared that the verse “fall on Jesus” meant so much to them. We know that like all people who are learning a new way of walking we will fall but now we know, anew, where to fall. During our prayer time one of our friends prayed thanking God for the example of another couple of Up Town friends. I glanced up and saw beautiful tears glisten in their eyes. It was a holy moment. Next we looked at 85 year old Caleb’s request to be given the fortified cities in Hebron with all its giants as his area to conquer. We all have giants in our lives; things too big for us to handle but if we look at the giants and then the great big Almighty God instead looking at the giant and then at puny little me, then we have the winning perspective. The night ended with a failed attempt to get one of our friend’s van going but it was a glorious failure as he responded with patience and grace and was so proud of himself and how God is changing him. (The next day a group of friends got it running.)
That was only one day! The week went on to include some great conversations with a wide variety of people. I took a trip to Springhill Institution and had deep conversations there. I drove a fellow to re-hab. I took another fellow, who was in his cups, home for breakfast and a shower (He went on to have a sleep in my car for the next few hours while I did work in the chapel. I had a phone conversation with a guy who will be released to Saint John from Dorchester. I visited Parrtown halfway house and I led an Over Comers program.
It was an action packed week. I think I know a bit of the excitement Caleb felt as he turned to face the fortified cities of Hebron area. The task may be daunting but the potential is great. God calls and God provides! We are particularly praying for volunteers to enter into supportive relationships with ex-offenders and we are praying for funds to continue (and we even dare say advance) our ministry of Community Chaplaincy.