Mourning this Morning

It has happened again, even though we are early in the winter season, another child of God experiencing homelessness died while sitting on a bench yesterday in downtown Nashville. About a month ago, another child of God experiencing homelessness died while sleeping on the steps of a church in the Madison area.

I am in mourning this morning…

No foul play is suspected in either case, and we do not know yet if the deaths were weather related, health related, or a mixture of both. Quite honestly, when you have no choice but to live and sleep outside exposed to the elements, and you have health problems, the two are so intertwined it is hard to separate the two causes. What matters here is precious children of God who have been amazingly and wonderfully made are dying all alone, outside.

I am in mourning this morning…

To add insult to injury, the city is making noise again about shutting down campsites this winter; campsites which provide many friends a much better chance of surviving the elements. Campsites are not the answer. Affordable housing for all is the answer. However, affordable housing for all is not going to happen anytime soon, so campsites are a must, and they are a much better alternative to sleeping outside on a bench or on church steps exposed to the elements.

I am in mourning this morning…

People will react in various ways to these deaths…many will get angry, some will protest and make signs, some will pray, some will work for change, some might pause and say “what a shame” and then go about their day, and some will never even realize that God lost two precious children already this winter season.

Jesus is in mourning this morning…

How will I (we) react?

I (we) will continue to follow the call that God has placed upon me (us), to love on and be present with this community who experience homelessness and poverty.

I (we) will shelter people when I (we) can inside the safety of a church building.

I (we) will provide blankets, tents, heaters, propane, warm clothing and socks.

I (we) will not pretend I (we) can save the world or end homelessness.

I (we) will love them unconditionally and I (we) will stand with my (our) friends through their struggles this winter and beyond.

If you are a supporter of Sacred Sparks Ministry of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, you are the “we/us/our” in the statements above.

I do not pretend at all that I do this work alone. Please know that your support and prayers are needed now more than ever, and that they make a difference in the lives of this precious community.

Are you in mourning this morning?