Sunday, April 30, 2023

Homelessness and the Kingdom of God

  I work part time in a local homeless shelter that provides street outreach services three days a week to those in our community experiencing homelessness. During the last few years we’ve had several clients pass. Hold that thought; I’ll be coming back to it shortly. For now I’d like to say a few words about the Kingdom of God and the nature of salvation.

Most-if not all-of us (I’m speaking to Christians here) were raised or taught to believe that if we live a certain way, believed certain things, pray certain prayers, we will be assured a place in heaven. By extension we were raised or taught or have come to believe that anyone who does not live the same way or believe the same things or pray the same prayers we do will be assured a place in hell. Based on my understanding of the Bible-particularly the Gospels-I no longer believe this to be true.

I believe, again, based on my understanding of the Bible, the Gospels, and my life experiences, places in heaven are assigned by God, and God assigns them to whom God will without consulting with us first. I further believe it is our purpose in life-our vocation, if you will-to demonstrate God’s presence on earth, here, now, in whatever place and circumstance we find ourselves. Which leads me back to our homeless shelter, and our clients who have passed.

I firmly believe our clients, no matter how distasteful we may find them, are sent to us by God to teach us humility and how to love unconditionally (and I will be the first to admit those things are often particularly difficult for me). Which leads me to my main-and final-point.

I fully expect to see our clients again, in heaven. The first thing I intend to do is seek their forgiveness for failing to love them the way Messiah Jesus loves me and expects me to love others. And, because they will have spent much time in God’s unfiltered presence, I fully expect to be forgiven.

Pax et Bonum

Peace and All Good  

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