BROKENNESS AND HOPE
Last night, along with a group of friend from church, I went to serve dinner at My Brother’s Keeper, an emergency shelter for homeless men in Flint. We prepared a meal and then sat down to dinner with the guests of the shelter.
As I sat to eat, I listened to stories of brokenness and hope. I heard echoes of thanks along with complaints about the taste of the food. One of the weirdest moments of the night came when I had to explain to someone what lasagna was. What I thought was a pretty simple meal was out of the ordinary for many of the guests. Lasagna. Salad. Bread. It can be easy to take the simple things for granted.
Before dinner, I played a couple of songs and gave a short talk about the love of God. I shared about my old life and the difficulty I found in understanding that God loved me even though I didn’t have everything in my life together. I shared this passage from Eugene Peterson‘s paraphrase, The Message:
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. (1 John 4:17)
I talked about the trouble of living in the past and missing out on God’s love in the present moment while hitting Brennan Manning’s poignant refrain of “Let God love you. Not as you should be but as you are.”
After dinner, one of the guys came up and asked if he could play a song on my guitar that he had been working on entitled “God is Love”. We sat down and he played a beautiful song about living in God’s grace and mercy. We talked about his past playing in an “underground funk” band and how his passion for music changed when he came to know Jesus. I could see a little bit of myself in him.
Later on in the evening one of the shelter workers told me a little bit more about my musician friend and his struggles with drugs and alcohol that kept him coming back to My Brother’s Keeper for help. His life painted a picture of brokenness and hope living in the same person. It’s a picture I don’t want to forget because his picture is my picture too.
I hope that I can learn to live in the message that I was so eager to share with these men.