Tonight, Ethan and I joined our church for its Easter service. Instead of the traditional Easter church service, our church instead chose to have a huge grill out for all of Austin's homeless. We worshiped in the middle of downtown Austin in a parking lot and shared communion with the most diverse group of people I have ever been a part of.
Some of the incredible things I got to witness:
A homeless man in a wheel chair, standing up and raising his hands in worship
An extremely kind older homeless man prayed out loud, thanking God for all of the volunteers taking time out of their day to do this.
A homeless man giving his peers new shoes to replace their worn out ones.
I heard multiple people talking about how full they were.
I saw children of members of my church throwing a football, having fun, with a couple of guys from the streets.
This guy's name is Bruce Steen (maybe Stein), and he introduced himself as Bruce Springsteen. He is quite the character. He loved watermelon and ate a TON of it. He was one of the ones who received a new pair of shoes. We offered him a chair to sit in, and I have never seen anyone so genuinely excited for something so simple. One of his friends asked him when the last time he was so spoiled was, and he said he didn't know how long. He wanted his picture taken in the chair, and whenever I offered him a polaroid, he put in safely in his bag and told me how he was going to show it to all of his buddies.
You guys, there are so many homeless in Austin. And so many of them are such sweet, awesome people who don't need much to feel loved on. One lady told me I was a blessing because I found her a plastic bag to carry her stuff in. A plastic grocery bag, that I have tons of in my pantry. A couple of guys felt totally spoiled because they got to sit in lawn chairs. How many of you have foldable lawn chairs in your garages that you don't use?
Jesus died and rose again for me, for you, and for every single person on this earth. He died and left us as Christians with the duty to extend Christ's love to those who are usually forgotten. But a funny thing happens when you do that. Sometimes you find yourself getting some love back :) This certainly is an Easter I won't forget.
James 1:26-27 (The Message)
Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
over and out.