Last night was a date night for the married couples, and the rest of us men did some work together. We ate dinner with the women quick and then all split up to go and pray alone for a half hour prior to going out. The objective was to talk with our Father about what sort of word we ought to bring to men in the neighborhood. We gathered together briefly to share what we had each arrived at in prayer, and then we struck out in 3 groups of 2-3, planning to meet back up in 1 hour. We got to speak to children, young men, middle-aged men, and a man with 8 grandkids. Everyone that I encountered had already had exposure to my group of friends who lives here, and have lived here for the past 6 years, in the heart of this stunted community. Up and down the streets were budding relationships that my friends were nourishing, and a variety of home repair projects testifying to a full-bodied love for them. I had three opportunities to pray with men for specific needs they had, and I really enjoyed experiencing Brian interacting with them, as he had lived here prior but was now on a return visit. We gathered back together to debrief and tell stories, followed by the guys who had lived here giving the rest of us a more clear picture of what relationships and community looks like here.
We take so much for granted. Not only do we take our opportunities and our belongings and our skills and our friendships for granted, but what has been most striking is how we take our hunger for community for granted. This hunger has been fostered in us from the beginning, and it bears so much fruit. But for many people, it can't be characterized simply as something they don't experience. It's also something they don't consciously desire.
How do you work with that? How does our Father work with that in us?
My son, treat yourself well, according to your means, and present worthy offerings to the Lord. Remember that death will not delay, and the decree of Hades has not been shown to you. Do good to a friend before you die, and reach out and give to him as much as you can. - Sirach 14:11-13