Sunday, October 21, 2007

Stocking Feet...twice

Hi, PDX!

Jesus showed up again tonight at worship. It's been a cold, miserable, rainy week. The sky had finally wrung itself out today, and the pavement dried. As Jean and I neared the center to open up and prepare for evening worship, K____, a man we occasionally see there, was sitting on the sidewalk next to the patio gate. K____ came in for worship. As we were serving food afterward Jean noticed that K____ had no shoes. Socks but no shoes. He'd probably been walking in wet shoes and socks all week and finally found a pair of dry socks but couldn't bear to put them in smelly, wet, unhealthy shoes. So, he'd been walking the pavement all day in his socks.

Jean asked me if we had any shoes, size 9. I thought we did in the upstairs storage at the center, but it was locked. L____, a long-time guest at Operation Nightwatch and recent volunteer at Daywatch, had a solution. His shoes were size 9. He'd just gotten them that day. He began taking off his shoes. "L____," I exclaimed, "what will you do?" L____ said he would wait until the storage area opened the next morning, borrow a pair of shoes to get home to his apartment, and then return the borrowed pair.

L____ gave K____ the shoes off his feet. Went to stocking feet himself so that K____, who will spend the night outdoors, could have shoes. Dry, new shoes. L____ may be able to get another pair before boarding the train. L____ is going home to see his Dad who will not live out the year. Did I tell you that L____ is recovering from cancer surgery? Instead of surgery to remove the cancer, it turned out to be exploratory for cancer too advanced to remove. Did I tell you L____ is a widower, a former Marine, HIV positive, younger brother of another Marine KIA in Vietnam?

"The kingdom of God is like an HIV positive, widowed ex-Marine, dying of cancer and about to lose his father, who gave a homeless man the new shoes off his feet..."

HIV. Yes, L____ got it that way. I know some Bible thumpers who would declare L____ an abomination and unfit for the kingdom of God. I saw something different. I saw Jesus show up needing size 9 shoes. Then I saw Jesus giving up his brand new size 9 shoes. I saw a miracle. I saw Jesus walking on water, except that his time it was on stocking feet. Twice.

That's our Lord, going where folks would not expect him, giving the shoes off his feet while facing his own death... Semper fi, Jesus! Semper fi, L____! Semper fi, kingdom of God! Always faithful.

Enjoy your dry shoes, everyone!


Pastor Roger

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