Thursday, November 25, 2004

Downward mobility

I attend church services in Regent Park Toronto, one of the poorer areas of the city.

After attending a prayer service last Saturday a.m., while waiting for my ride, a lady asked me if I wanted a date.

Somewhat absent-mindedly, I clumsily, naively asked what kind of date. She gave me two options, each which would have cost me $10.00.

Okay it's 11:30 Saturday a.m. $10.00? I've just shared in some moving communal prayer with a couple young female believers, blessing and being blessed.

My reaction - I wouldn't part with the money for her - she wasn't attractive, she was missing a tooth - if she looked differently would I have responded differently? I was thinking, hey I'm part of an urban scene, and I've been proposed to - cool, this makes good blogging material.

Should I give her $10.00 - no she'll spend it on dope. Should I take her for lunch, she or I didn't have time - so many thoughts - it was getting complicated, all within a few seconds really.

What I ended up thinking was that she was someone's daughter, sister, maybe even mother, and she was God's creation. She was so addicted (to crack cocaine I assume) that no act was too desperate. It was sad.

I'm a clay vessel with the treasure inside. Once I got through my human processing - I was thankful that I had compassion - I suffered with her. I kind of raced ahead to what could be done for her and folk like her but in the end I acknowledged her, smiled, and declined the offer.

God's compassion is not something abstract but concrete - I am with you - that's incarnation.
Jesus doesn't reach down from on high to pull us up - rather he becomes like us.

It is not the bending toward the underprivileged from a privileged position; it is going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there.

I've been places, done things I'm not proud of - just like you and my Saturday a.m. acquaintance, but both she and I and you can enter the holy place and find grace and mercy in our time of need because of Jesus, our sympathetic high priest, who walked where we walk, tempted in all ways, yet without sin.

Praise God for Immanuel - we are not alone.


Blogger Keeler said...

Really blessed to hear of your encounter.
As these girls are my dear friends, I am pleased that you were able to smile and acknowledge her in love.
Continue to love them well, they are precious to me and to God.
With joy,

8:30 PM  
Blogger Suburban Outpost said...

Great Vulnerability. THanks David, you've been able to write in a way that is transparent and gives us a message of what to think and do in uncomfortable situations.

2:53 PM  

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