Prior to laying on the cot the first night, I never understood the full significance of God sending His son Jesus into this world in the form of a man, dwelling among us as a lower-class citizen. You see, God, in all his glory left his throne room in Heaven to come live with us! He had it all - even the richest man in the world cannot come close to having a fraction of the riches God possesses in Heaven - and yet he became poor. He took up residence in a tiny town called Nazareth to experience the mess man had gotten himself into.Paul is working part-time at the Franciscan Outreach Association on the west side of Chicago, living in a community of volunteers serving at a soup kitchen and at an emergency shelter for the homeless. In an email to the seminary community, Paul wrote:
Laying in my bed, surrounded by 25 to 75 year old men, men who did not have a home and had to stay in temporary shelters to get out of the cold, I realized why Jesus did what He did. You see, staying at the shelter as a guest put me at a level with the men that I didn't have as a volunteer who after serving go back to my bed in the suburbs. By stepping into their world, they told me things they wouldn't have told me otherwise, and they allowed me more of a chance to minister to them. Jesus did the same thing! By coming to earth in the form of man, He allowed us an opportunity to be in relationship with the God of the universe once again.
After a conversation with two friends from seminary two weeks ago, discussing what they and their youth group's were doing for lent, I decided the one thing that would stretch me even more to find Jesus amongst the poor would be to live with them as homeless. So for four days last week I stayed as a guest at the shelter, in order to more fully experience the sacrifice and person of Jesus in the Lenten season.
I invite you to read Paul’s Lenten meditation.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
Tags: Homeless, Lent, Poor