Good morning all! We have made it to Friday!
Habakkuk 3:2-6New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Prophet’s Prayer
2 O Lord, I have heard of your renown,
and I stand in awe, O Lord, of your work.
In our own time revive it;
in our own time make it known;
in wrath may you remember mercy.
3 God came from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran.Selah
His glory covered the heavens,
and the earth was full of his praise.
4 The brightness was like the sun;
rays came forth from his hand,
where his power lay hidden.
5 Before him went pestilence,
and plague followed close behind.
6 He stopped and shook the earth;
he looked and made the nations tremble.
The eternal mountains were shattered;
along his ancient pathways
the everlasting hills sank low.
This year in the revised common daily lectionary that I use we have a whole week of looking at little passages from Habbakuk. This is funny to me since we spent the first Sunday of Advent with Habbakuk in the narrative lessons we are following. That is a lot of a minor prophet in one season. I have to say I am really digging it.
I am loving really dwelling with a prophet who yells at God. Many of the prophets speak on behalf of God and Prophet H (as I might call him since his name sounds kind of unpleasant) really yells out at God. He yells and then expects God to answer. And God does!! Not with what we might expect but God answers!
Today I am yelling at God a bit. I am telling God, ok, it is about time you show up. This prayer of Habbakuk’s today is about remembering when God was so present that you couldn’t help but notice and we need that again. This could be my prayer this morning. Our church decided in June that in order to fully live out our mission we needed to stop forcing people off the property at night. We are open all day long with coffee and warmth but at night we had been telling people they had to go. We wanted to see what it would be like if we just…didn’t make them go. We didn’t offer anything extra we just weren’t awful about it all.
What has progressed has become four tents in the back between our buildings. There has been no plan, but we are learning tremendously every day. We address what comes up. When we discovered that there are no open facilities at night anywhere in McMinnville, we added a potty. When a couple was fighting over and over and disturbing everyone and then didn’t respond to us, we had to ask them to move on. When our everyday congregation asked us for a meeting to establish more rules, we were excited to create that with them. When one young man asked that in order to control his temper and do better for himself he have a safe place to come in and sit and cool down, he now has a safe place.
And what happened you might ask? We are seeing that with more stability, the folks outside are thinking about creating better lives for themselves and others. The woman who was a constant threat brought soup for everyone to the meeting and is thinking about going back to school. The guy who is a problem cleans up after everyone and is thinking that perhaps he should get a job. The woman who couldn’t hold it together got a job and goes everyday.
We are seeing a difference. Plus it is really crappy outside these days and where will they go. There is absolutely no shelter in McMinnville.
Yesterday, Pastor Mark and I were called into the Chief of police’s office. Across the table sat the city code enforcer…this can’t be good.
The meeting was calm but I got a bit fired up. The city would like us to kick out the folks in the back in the middle of December with no place to go. If we do not kick them out and get rid of the tents we will be fined 500 dollars a day. If we still don’t comply, there will be a lawsuit and we will go to court.
This is when I started yelling at God yesterday…Ok, God, I can’t wait any longer. You BETTER SHOW UP!!! It is time for you to be fully present! It is time for you to walk and be heard. It is time for the earth to shake. It is time. Advent is about God’s time. Not mine. I will wait but I am getting oh so ready.
We are brainstorming about what to do now. The neighbors in the back are complaining…but maybe not about our parking lot in the front. The problem is larger than this. This is not the solution but this is the first time the entire city has had to talk about it. I will wait and I will listen….what a season this is becoming!
How are you waiting? When did you last yell at God?