Our church is doing a teaching series, Love Like Jesus. Nathan Albert, our Pastor of Student Ministries, preached on Jesus’ love for marginalized people; people who become known and seen by us as convenient “labels” and are then conveniently dismissed – or worse. Nathan called the teaching, Embraced Outcasts, and I hope you’ll take time to listen to it here.
I have a poem that I’ve not shared too widely but perhaps this is an appropriate season to hear it.
Most know her only as Nancy – if that.
She’s Nancy – the Walker
Deep brown from rays who walk with her
Tracing, retracing the suburban roads.
For many she remains nameless
A nameless reminder
Or a thorn
Or a nuisance in our Starbucks moment.
She has a last name I heard once
But Nancy is better than nothing
Better than ‘that homeless person’
Or “that poor burnt lady.”
She keeps going, only a few rest stops
Rescued only in winter advisories
That shake our numbness
When we stiffly turn to see her.
Like when the ice storm hit
And I logged her into the local motel
Where they know her and nod
And take our money for a day or two or a week.
A temporary fix
“Doesn’t really meet the need”
Except maybe the need in my soul?
“For I was hungry and you…” (Matthew 25)
Maybe they are burned-out,
And the safety net still has holes
And she keeps walking.
Come to think, Jesus walked a lot.
Deep brown from the same rays
‘The poor you will always have with you’
God’s medicine for our numbness.
Lyle Mook, c. 2012