I don't write as much as I could on the topic of urban ministry. Sometimes my experiences and knowledge of the topic seem surreal. Sometimes they seem unbelievable. However, they are real and true...and sometimes I need to write about them, because the process of writing helps me to think a little more clearly about life.
For the last few days, I've been thinking about the family at church who left their apartment last week because of the violence in their neighborhood. The overnight gunfire became so frequent that they were sleeping in the hallway. They were trying to put more walls between themselves and the gunfire so that they would be less likely to be struck by a stray bullet. Obviously, no one could sleep or function well under such stress. The family has left their apartment. They have been staying with other family members and church members until they can find a safer home.
Their experiences are a reality for too many people. And I need to remember it.
"Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.'
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday" (Isaiah 58:6-10).