Jesus sent them out two by two bestowing on them the authority to deal with the evil opposition. He said they did not need extra equipment; they are the equipment. Keep it simple. If you are not welcomed or listened to, quietly withdraw. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.
I, too, feel sent out, in this case, as one and armed with a God whom I believe loves me. Destination? Uptown Safe Haven a residential community operated by Episcopal Community Services for people transitioning and transforming their lifestyles. The welcome? Open, sensitive and warm. Eighteen men and women living in hurt, pain and brokenness with the courage to try living their lives differently. And, as one the staff member notes, “They are all believers.” I do not often walk into an unknown situation and have that comment made. I wonder if this belief accounts for a special glow on their faces, a glimmer of hope in their eyes. Through all the underlying grief and discomfort belief reveals itself.
Not only is the welcome positive but also my listening skills head into immediate play mode. A staff person shares what it means to have one person make the life style transition successfully. How some residents forge a long term connection with Safe Haven. It takes plenty of hard work to leave one way of life in exchange for another, to a frequently unknown and untried future.
During this time at Safe Haven, I hope to learn what interests people have, what new skills they would like to explore learning. What events or outings they would like to experience. How can this community can grow strong together, even though they each are pursuing their own individual imperatives. How they can engage in their neighborhood. How they experience and live their “belief.”
This past Sunday D and I attended St. Paul’s Holy Communion service. We are experimenting with a weekly calendar, “What’s Happening at St. Paul’s This Week.” A curiosity is growing around “episcopal,” and what it means.
St. Paul’s is lighting up tonight. We will see who will be sharing in the celebration from the neighborhood, including Uptown Safe Haven!