To give you a flavour of our week at Street Hope I want to share two events and a conversation.
One of my dear friends is a fellow I have been working with for the past three years. He is a much loved character in our community. He loves Jesus and loves to share him but still he found himself on the wrong side of the law and was sentenced this week to 30 months in prison. As I visited him he was excited about the opportunities this will give him for personal growth and to share Jesus with others. We also began the process of thinking about what life could look like after he serves his time. He needs positive friendships and to leave behind old associations. This is much easier to say than to do. Our friend needs Christian friendships but while there are many Christians who do prison ministry there are few that truly befriend guys when they come out.
Another guy I ran into this week is not a well loved character. He has made some horrendous decisions in his life and for them he is shunned and verbally attacked. We met on a street corner and had a brief conversation. I noticed he was wearing a sports team hat so we chatted about his favourite team. I had an appointment and so as I excused myself and prayed God’s blessing on him. He looked at me with such gratitude and said it was his first ‘normal’ conversation in weeks. We made a date to meet for coffee.
At our Study and prayer time Monday – Wednesday, we finally finished our nearly year long conversation about the Gospel of Mark. There was relief that we were ready to move on and a sense of excitement about what we would discuss next. Someone floated the idea of studying Jeremiah. I was intrigued with the possible conversations comparing Jeremiah’s culture with our own but I recalled that as we had talked about Mark, time and time again we were drawn back to the Exodus and the Passover. I knew from our conversations that our folks did not have the grounding in these things. We tried to cover the history as we went through the gospel narrative but it seemed more was required. So the plan is to begin with Genesis and wander through Exodus in the days (year) ahead.
This week we started and had some great discussion. “Why does it say ‘Let us make man in our likeness’?” And so ensued a conversation about the community and unity of the Godhead. At the end of our morning no one (especially me) had a clear understanding of this profound mystery but we had a renewed understanding of the premium God places on community. We best reflect the image of God when we do so together. We live in an ‘apartment’ culture when God calls us to a together-ment ethos.