In Matthew 5:14 it says, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden." Matthew 5:16 continues "Let your light so shine before men." Jesus is the light of the world and His Holy Spirit lives within us. This is such a beautiful picture that Jesus has painted for us..... A picture of millions of Christians walking the earth as little twinkling sparkles....that bring encouragement and life to a dying world. We have been blessed with the chance to see first hand what that looks like every week on North First Street. Our adventure began as 6 boxes layed out on the sidewalk with Keith and I nervously wondering if anyone would actually stop and take something.... We were literally two little lights standing in the dark... now 3 1/2 months later... the number of volunteers that shine their light has expanded significantly. We usually have about 8 regulars but the number of new volunteers that have started coming is amazing! It is so fun to see friends, family, church friends, work friends... from all over.. come out and shine their light. The cool thing is that when you put a lot of little lights together, the illumination is so very bright!
This week was no different... Our tables were layed out in a nice straight line with clothes layed out and ready to go. Fish and loaves.... there always seems to be enough. We had a variety of people bringing sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, homemade cookies, and cocoa. The sun beat down on our backs and seemed to warm us down to our toes. The day went by in a very easy, laid back way. People came in a steady stream, but didn't seem demanding or rushed. They filled garbage sack after garbage sack with clothes and food... but they didn't leave in a hurry. Our friends seemed to want to hang out... to stay around and visit- amongst each other, but also amongst us. What was so neat was that the volunteers weren't the only lights shining in the darkness. Some of our new friends have started turning towards the light and an inner light in them is starting to shine. Mike- one of our homeless friends went to a church speaking function down in the lower valley that lasted a couple days... he was different this week. Mike had a peace in his face and more of a purpose in his step. He wanted to help us and didn't just want to receive.
Hector has recently gotten back on his prescription medication and seems to be in the "here and now." This is a great change for him. The last few weeks he has chosen to stick around and hang out til the end. Hector as well as David, Mike and about 5 other homeless friends stayed with us and prayed at the end- hand in hand. From heaven it must have looked like a beautiful twinkling ring of light. Another great thing was that a table of homeless friends that were sitting off to the side asked us to hold on and not start praying until they got over to us. Wow!!! Jesus was there... He was all over the lot... shining through so many people... people on both sides of the box :0) Jesus asks us to let our lights shine and to not keep our lights under a bush. What ever hill you live on.... let your light shine!!! Whether it be a city on a hill or a desk in a corner office... let your light shine!!! Never worry that it won't be bright enough.... If you have ever been camping deep in the forest where it is as dark as the inside of a cow... then you know that it doesn't take much more than an ember to cast a bit of light into the darkness. Jesus always fills in where we fall short... Thank you Lord for your mercy!!! He doesn't say- "let your light shine, but only if you are 100 watts or brighter... no, The Lord just calls us to let our light shine... we need to trust that it will be enough.
Our cocoa container broke and we lost all of our cocoa on the rocks, but no worries, because Jesus' light was shining so bright that it didn't really make much of a difference. All of the food went, the cookies-eggs- and sandwiches.... Jesus is always enough!!! Fish and loaves.... we unpack a trailor filled to the brim with clothes and we see bag after bag walk down the street, but in the end we still have boxes of clothes that we pack back into the trailor because as we give clothes out.... wonderful kind people are bringing bags of clothes to us that they have collected from friends or family. Our job is to let our light shine and Jesus always holds up his end of the deal and provides.... Thank you Jesus for calling us to show up and love.... and thank you for providing for all of our needs and for covering the whole thing in your amazing love!!! In Jesus Holy Name.... Amen :0)