WELCOME FROM HAYWOOD STREET:
A letter from Rev. Brian Combs regarding plans for Haywood Street housing. More…
Here is the current recovery meeting schedule, beginning November 2. All groups will meet in the sanctuary. There is an occupancy limit of 25 and everyone must wear a mask. Overflow will be able to gather under the tents in the parking lot.
New hours for Fresco Viewing begin next week! A Fresco Host will be on hand to share stories about the artwork, or you are welcome to experience it through quiet reflection. While the sanctuary will be open, other areas of the church will not be. We will be following all safety protocols including mask wearing, physical distancing, and limiting number of guests at any given time. On Thursday, Nov. 5, Edward will be sharing special organ music for guests viewing the fresco.
CURRENT WAYS TO SUPPORT THE MINISTRY & OUR FRIENDS:
1. Make a meal for Friends staying in Respite. Click here to sign up!
2. Click here to access our wish list and giving information.
3. Current Respite wishlist: shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, brushes and combs, soap bars, mens underwear (L, XL, 2XL), mens t-shirts (M, L, XL, 2XL). All items can be dropped off at the clothing closet on Tuesdays from 10am-12pm. Drive around to the back of the building and enter the white door. Please wear a mask!
A HAYWOOD STREET REFLECTION BY: CHRISTOPHER MCFATTER
I have been sitting before this fresco for ten weeks, every Tuesday at 11:30 for twenty minutes. I came on the word of an email inviting people to come and sit in quiet reflection and prayer; something I desperately needed. I was out of gas. I had started with an incredibly hardened heart toward situations, relationships, what I want, what I do not want, toward the world, politics, work, friends and even church. But not God because I knew He would not abandon me, even if my will did not align to His. He brought me to the fresco.
No one knows that I come, but I come sit, and April at the church graciously lets me in each week. She does not ask questions. She just provides space. I sit on a warm, wooden bench with a little light that filters in from the stained-glass windows on the sides of the sanctuary. But the light, THE LIGHT! I get flooded with light. The light comes from the fresco, the people of the fresco who look tired and tried, but content and joyful. But the Light! It truly comes from God through these people depicted, through the fresco. “These people” are not people as we say. No, they are the very treasure of God, His very loved creation, each one, delicate in His sight. They are the walking beatitudes. The light shines through the spirit of Jesus who taught about the very thing that I am stuck on, one of the core things this fresco portrays, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This beatitude slaps me in the face. It knocks me down, for I am poor in spirit and take for granted this blessing.
I am faced with having to answer this beatitude, to submit to it. And this was abundantly clear when I was asked to write a piece on the fresco that would be shared with others. I did not know what to write. I still do not. But I sit and I write what is on my heart. When I sit with the fresco, I sit before the Lord quietly and weep. And I weep and weep. I think and pray about the beatitudes that have been on my mind for so many months knowing that my actions, my sins, my circumstances, the world around me has left me poor in spirit. Another way to say this is humble and lowly in spirit. I am not proud of myself, who I am, my flaws, my sins. I mourn for these things, damage done, losses and lost relationships. We forget so easily that people are mourning, are poor in spirit, are hurting, are imprisoned, homeless, are lonely or are suffering in other ways. We forget people can be forgiven, can be peacemakers, can be merciful, can still be pure in heart; we forget that the Lord can give us joy in suffering if we will just accept it. So, I have to understand for sanity, I have to understand, “blessed are the poor in spirit” and carry peace in my heart, be joyful.
Jesus is a great King, but he came down to us lowly and humble in heart. He came down and walked a path of righteousness with no place to lay his head. He came to immerse himself with sinners, the sick, the lowly, the meek; those who suffer, those whom He made. He came with a mind to dust off his treasures. So, I have joy. I smile despite suffering, despite my poor spirit and mourning, the grief, shame and anger I carry. I look at the beautiful people in the fresco, real people with names and stories. The Kingdom of heaven is coming but it is also here and now, in the present, with the beautiful children of God walking this path of holy chaos. It is already theirs and ours, here and now.
I don’t personally know the people of the fresco but I think about them. I see a woman sitting on the ground, holding her precious baby, probably wondering “what’s next?” but looking content all the same because God has blessed her with a precious treasure, a companion to walk with. Rising out of the clouds, I see brothers and sisters carrying the communion table, lifting up the bread and wine, the body and blood, to those in need of relationship with the one who loves all. I see a man lying back on the dirt, against his pack with a friend reaching out to him. I see the flame of the campfire, rising up like the Holy Ghost with his children gathered around, talking quietly before lying down on the ground that God provided to rest for the night. I see seven stars shining bright and five doves bringing peace to the night. I see the covenant rainbow, living water, delicate wildflowers and fog lifting over mountains and creation. I look and I see, I see, I see.
Holy chaos. It seems I live in chaos from the outside looking in, but it is holy because He is holy and I am His. Holy chaos allows you to have relationship above all else because when you can depend on nothing else, on no one else, we have a Father who is always with us, having a relationship with us above all else because His son is united to all of us and there is no one else. Two steps forward, one back, but forward into this gentle yoke, this light and delicate joyful burden of loving Christ, of loving all.