Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Is. 49:1-7; Ps. 71:1-14; 1 Cor.:18-31; Jn. 12: 20-36
In 2011 I was fortunate to audit an Urban Ministry course at Wake Forest University which included an immersion pilgrimage to New York City. On this pilgrimage we worshiped at several churches, worked with ministries that served food to the homeless, and even ministries that help men just getting out of prison. One of our more uncomfortable experiences was going through the line of a large soup kitchen, sitting with people who were receiving the only meal they would have all day, and being served by volunteers. It’s one thing to serve those in need; it’s another to put yourself in their place and experience their vulnerable reality.
One night we attended worship at Metropolitan Community Church of New York which ministers to the LGBTQ community. I remember walking in with my preconceived notions and guard up. When we arrived I was immediately moved by the warm welcome we received. The sermon was genuine and powerful, worship was beautiful, and at the end of the service was time for communion. I casually made my way to the next available person who, after serving me communion, prayed over me. In that moment I was so overcome by the presence of the Holy Spirit that I was brought to tears. This stranger spoke into my life in a powerful way that I did not expect and truly needed. I don’t know the name of the man who served me communion. I don’t know his story, but I do know that the same Christ who lives in me lives in him. I know that I was a stranger and was welcomed. I know that I was forever changed.